THOUGHTS ABOUT
SPIRITUAL PERSISTENCE

Reflections on the content of what Rikkity has shared with us.

I was impressed when I first began to receive the concept of Spiritual Persistence from Rikkity that this was more than simply changing labels under the same old pictures. What we are being given is a major change of world view, a paradigm shift, a different frame of consciousness.

We need that change, that shift, that difference. I think that most people know this.

When I consider human history a pattern emerges: an established world view, which itself was once a radical new view, begins to fail to meet the needs of the people. The revolution brought about by its precepts harden into orthodoxy.

The people, finding that the orthodoxy fails to meet their needs, begin to look for other answers. Some quickly revert back to the older models in a nostalgic hope for some stability. Others look to cosmetic changes that will appear to revitalize the orthodoxy. Others turn to new models which, by asking for a suspension of reason and common sense, demand fanatic loyalty to quick fixes. In the long run, none of these alternatives will meet the needs of the people.

But, as has happened over and over again, into such a time of cultural turmoil a new idea will emerge. It is an idea which is at once radically new and at the same time so familiar that many upon hearing it will say "Well, of course!"

When the Buddha began his teachings of compassion and inner spirituality, the old models of war lords and spiritual castes were no longer compelling to the most people. His simple message was easily understood.

When Moses shared the concept of a society of law and covenant, the old models of tribalism and might-makes-right were no longer productive models of society. His simple message was easily understood.

When Jesus taught his lessons of universal love and forgiveness, the old models of chosen worthiness and an angry God failed to respond to the innate feelings of goodness in most people. His simple message was easily understood.

Each radically new teaching was easily understood because it was a logical "next step" in the collective development of human spirituality.

We stand at a very similar time. The main model in our society, derived from the Judeo-Christian heritage, is of individuation and separation. It is based on a view of a single life-passage whose goal is to find salvation in the afterlife. Spiritually, it is everyone for himself or herself. Yes, part of that redemptive path includes care for others, but that care is seen as a means not an end.

Many people today have that inner, uneasy feeling that this old model is not working. The ideas about self-empowerment which once were liberating have now become an orthodoxy that hinders our further spiritual development. The decline of the main-line religious bodies so identified with this thinking, the growth of nostalgic religious fundamentalism, the similar growth of esoteric cults and sects, and the almost palatable feeling that "something is wrong with the way things are", are all indications that this is a time for a new paradigm shift, a new world view, a new order of thinking.

One of the hallmarks of such a new paradigm, new world view, new order of thinking will be that it will be easily understood. It will make sense. It will not require a suspension of reason or belief. It will feel like the appropriate "next step" because when applied in individual lives and in the collective life of society it will offer a new level of understanding and meaning. Life will feel more whole when viewed in this way.

One of the things I have come to appreciate from our exchanges with Rikkity is the way in which this model is being offered. Often she will expound on some new understanding, and then add "or not." I have the firm belief that the insights which will lead us all into a new, more universal spiritual existence will have that open aspect to them. They will be offered for testing by our own experiences and feelings. If they help us to live and enjoy, if they encourage us to learn and remember, they will become compelling. We will have to decide if they so inform and engage us or not.

Is Spiritual Persistence the new model that will inform and engage you? I don't know. But, I do know that it is time for all of us to be actively searching for a new model that will inform us: the old ones are failing to meet our present individual and collective needs.

The Rev Dr Randolph WB Becker
May 29, 1998


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Last Update: 5/16/2013
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the Rev Dr Randolph and Elissa Bishop Becker, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
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