Articles about Spirituality
CONVERSATIONS WITH GLYN EDWARDS
Extract from the ebook Realms of Wondrous Gifts:
Psychic, Mediumistic and Miraculous Powers in the Great Mystical and Wisdom Traditions
By Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston)
With conversations with Glyn Edwards
Revised Smashwords eBook edition, 2012
Available in most eBook formats (incl. Amazon Kindle)
Words: 34,500 approx
RRP: $4.99 (USD)
Category: Spirituality / World Religions / Psychic Phenomena
Short extracts from two extensive appendices in Realms of Wondrous Gifts ebook
Santoshan: Are the powers already there – inherent in everyone – given as a Divine blessing as form of grace, or are they developed?
Glyn Edwards: This is a good and important question. However, here we are again entering into the realms of belief and it also depends on one’s definition of grace. For me, grace is a sense of giving and receiving, which happens not just between the Divine and Its creation, but is also transmitted from our own human self to others. Ultimate realms of development transcend terms and concepts, yet at the same time we need them to individually understand certain things about spiritual growth and development. Grace is a mystical element of growth that is difficult to pin-down to being just one thing. You were telling me recently how in the Jewish faith, life and Creation and its abundance and beauty are seen collectively as a form of God’s grace, which is quite a valid view I think.
Grace has within it elements of love, compassion, understanding, wisdom and kindness. It is something that enlarges the mind, our processes of thought, perception and awareness, and all actions and activities of life. It affects every level of who and what we are, and helps us to unfold altruistic and Divine qualities in our lives. It can, therefore, be seen as an important and essential facet of unfoldment, which is sometimes overlooked or not mentioned enough in some spiritual teachings.
As to whether psychic, mediumistic or miraculous gifts or abilities are given or developed is something I can only answer from my own understanding. As far as I can see we are born with a predisposition for these abilities. From my experience, these abilities take us into the realms of potential and, therefore, into areas of individual possibilities. It is through recognition, receptivity, opening our minds and working with our potential that an awareness of there being no limit to the abilities that we have comes into being. It is we who place limits and conditions on them. From the supreme perspective it can be seen as the Divine within us awakening and opening to Itself so, therefore, why would It hold anything back from itself?
Psychic, mediumistic and miraculous powers in this sense are neither given or developed, but are ‘revealed’ when we remove all that stops us from recognising them as an inherent part of our nature. Development in this area then lies more in how we reach this level of understanding and manifest such powers more purely. For those who wish to explore more about this profound view of spiritual unfoldment, the books by the Christian writer Joel S. Goldsmith are particularly strong on this point of understanding about grace and how God, the Divine, is the ultimate power in our unfoldment and in the universe.
S: You have studied the lives and teachings of various mystics, lamas and yogis in depth, such as the Dalai Lama, Ramana Maharshi and various Christian mystics. What has this told you about psychic gifts and spirituality as a whole?
GE: That one spills over into the other. That everything can help us to unfold a wider and inclusive view of spirituality and a deeper understanding of ourselves. That what we are is part of a Divine Presence that is in all and transcends all. Many of the teachings I have looked at have awakened within me an ongoing search to discover and find ways that can best unfold That which is beyond boundaries – to what some might describe as miraculous in some traditions. Additionally, they have brought about a growing awakening to how we are capable of great acts of compassion and kindness, and can communicate with and be influenced by realms beyond physical levels of knowing to realising there is an Ultimate Reality permeating all, which is described as the atman, the soul, the Spirit, the luminous mind, etc. These are merely terms to describe something which is paradoxically immanent and also transcendent – something that is deathless, sacred and eternal. This takes us beyond the normal seeing, feeling and hearing states of mediumistic and psychic awareness and various miraculous powers, to an understanding of there being a profound Presence within all that is omniscient and omnipotent, and is continuously creating and evolving.
For the Hindu, the Christian, the Muslim, the Sikh and the people of the Jewish faith, it may be termed as God or the Divine. For the Buddhist it will be described as Nirvana, beyond description, forms and concepts, as the state of no mind, pure unconditioned awareness, emptiness, neither being nor non-being, or as the spiritual core of all – our ever-present Buddha nature.
All of these I believe are interconnected, and can lead us to discovering realms that are beyond physical existence, which can enable us to touch and commune deeply and profoundly with life – both seen and unseen – in more wholesome and balanced ways. Development needs to bring about a realisation and an understanding of the Origin of all things and be at one with it – to live a true state of oneness that recognises that we are not separate from other life and, therefore, spontaneously perform acts of compassion where and whenever possible because of this understanding.
S: What practices have you found helpful for your abilities and how do they affect your daily life?
GE: Meditation in the more traditional sense of the word has certainly enhanced my spiritual awareness and its effects have spilled over into enhancing my mediumship. The use of mantra has affected my psychic and mediumistic awareness. The practice that has come to be known as ‘Sitting in the Power’, which was given to me through the trance medium Mark Webb, has particularly aided my abilities and benefited other areas of development, because it helps in bringing about an awareness of That Power which is in all. As simple as the practice is, I have found that it leads to an awakening to realms of infinite love that integrates the spirit with our world and can be communicated with, which leads to a realisation that just as human life lives on, so does all life. These practices, I feel, have in many ways enriched my unfoldment and enhanced my spiritual search. But it is not over yet, as the search is an eternal one for us all.
Other practices, which some might not immediately think of as important parts of development, but can help us broaden the abilities we have and take a more holistic approach, involve such things as studying numerous wisdom traditions and spiritual philosophies – which helps to open the mind and bring about an understanding and acceptance of those who hold different beliefs about spirituality – and taking in the creative side of life, including music, art, literature and poetry, and being amongst nature and cultivating a deep awareness of life’s interconnectness.
I have found all these things have enhanced my appreciation and sensitivity towards the creative in my own being and the abilities I possess, and a sense of awe and wonder of the Divine that is found in nature – of which human nature and creativity is also a part of – and is the miracle of life itself.
S: On the one hand, some people might think being in touch with spirit people as a bit strange. On the other hand, these same people might consider being in touch with Divinity as more of a natural experience. What would you say to such people?
GE: We cannot separate the spirit world from the Divine, as everything is interrelated. If, as I believe, all life survives and is interconnected, then why should it appear strange to commune and be in contact with different realms of existence? In all the great wisdom traditions this contact with other realms has been mentioned and has at various times throughout history to the present day been practiced. In some traditions people who walked this earth have come to be revered as saints, gods or goddesses and there are accounts of communication with these people in non-physical after-death states.
We also need to consider how throughout the ages ancestor worship has been intrinsically bound-up with many traditions (even to this day), how there are accounts about those that have been described as angelic beings communicating with various people, and how people have prayed to different individuals, such as saints, as they are seen as intercessors before God who will act on people’s behalf. There are also shamans and oracles who are consulted in various traditions and many renowned mystics have displayed mediumistic types of abilities.
It seems to me that there has always existed in humankind’s psyche the belief in non-physical realms of existence. Early indigenous people and shamans were the first to connect with a spirit world permeating nature and to communicate with their departed ancestors. Others have looked towards the more transcendent areas of spirituality. Although there are some who have never completely separated themselves from some of the early indigenous beliefs and practices, there are some who have, which has led to an unhealthy separation between nature and the Spirit. All areas need to be included in the search for the One Ultimate Reality that expresses itself in and through all.
If we accept that life is eternal and there are other realms of existence intertwined with our physical world, then it must surely be a natural step in our evolution to be able to commune with these other realms and with those who are living on. We need to recognise that there are different ways in which to approach the many-faceted dimensions of spirituality, and be open to all areas that can lead us to healthier states of spiritual being and embrace the all-ness of what eternal life is about.
S: Can you summarise what spirituality means to you, as it can mean different things to different people. On the one hand, some teachers and writers think of spiritual realms of development as being about mystical union or deep states of meditation. On the other hand, if we are using the word to describe anyone who has a natural sense of goodness about them and about wholesome development and actions in daily life, we are obviously using the word in a much broader way.
GE: Yes, it can be used to mean different things. For me it is about an embracing of all people, life and nature – to truly see and value the good in all traditions and in different forms of wisdom. It is bound-up with realising that the same Supreme Spirit exists in all – that the activity of the psychic, mediumistic and miraculous, and the phenomena which comes from these, must never restrict the potential for spirituality, spiritual awareness and the recognition of equality, or restrict practices of kindness, natural goodness and compassionate actions.
How can we judge that a carpenter or stonemason may not just through his or her work develop profound spiritual qualities and become a great spiritual influence to others who come to know him or her and his or her work. Additionally, are cathedrals and temples not built by such people whose names we rarely know? Who are we to say that an agnostic is not a spiritual person? Or are we seeking to impose a set system of belief that excludes certain people from its club because they do not hold the same views and practices as we do?
Let us realise that spirituality is more than just meditation practices, rituals, beliefs and personal experiences; it encompasses the all-ness of life. Neither is it a truth that only a few possess, or a philosophy which makes us stand coldly separate from life.
Because some have gifts, such as insight into other worlds that are seen to connect with ours, or the ability to heal, we should not consider that these set them apart from others or indicate that they are more advanced or important than anyone else. Everyone has within them the potential for the same Divine qualities, which can be brought to the surface at any point in their lives. Sometimes we may be unaware that we are entertaining angels (meaning anyone who displays natural goodness), as the New Testament passage reminds us – and is one of many reasons why we need to consider showing kindness to strangers [Heb. 13:2] – such as when someone listens to our troubles and truly empathises with us. Is this not as valid a spiritual act as any that we can think of? True and spontaneous selfless acts of kindness and compassion are really the core of spirituality.
It is time that all of us, no matter what tradition, or none, took a step back and reviewed what is meant by spirituality. Although mediumistic awareness can be seen as a natural part of our being, just as breathing and kindness is, it is only a facet of the whole. Let us apply the principles of what we may term as higher living. This is not about seeing ourselves as more advanced than others, or separate or aloof from everyday life, but about manifesting our greatest gifts and recognising that there is goodness in all people, including ourselves, even though our human nature can get in the way of displaying it at times, as the symbol of yingand yang reminds us with the white spot in the black and the black in the white – reminding us that no person is entirely perfect, as equally as there is no one who is entirely bad.
We need to cultivate an understanding and a state of being that accepts and loves others and ourselves, and realises that our true nature is endeavouring to help us to awaken to the reality of what spirituality is and how to live deeply and skilfully by it in every moment. In looking into ourselves for the greatest gifts we possess, we discover the gifts of wisdom and Self-knowledge, which are the gateways to freedom, true peace and enlightenment. They help us to find unity in diversity and the compassionate Spirit in all.
As well as an insightful introduction and four in-depth and illuminating chapters by the author, ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts’ includes two extensive conversations with the internationally renowned UK medium, Glyn Edwards, on the Powers, Spirituality and their profound implications.
REVIEWS AND ENDORSEMENTS
A real gem of a book … Highly recommended.
– PSYCHIC WORLD.
A breath of fresh air.
– SPIRIT GUIDES WEBSITE.
Wonderful, inspirational teaching from both Santoshan and Glyn Edwards.
– JANET MULLINEUX, Smashwords review.
Thought-provoking, with in-depth research by Santoshan and shared personal experience from Glyn Edwards, ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts’ draws upon ancient and modern teachings from various wisdom traditions and important sources. It is a book that will be of tremendous help to all who wish to deepen their understanding of the powers and the wider implications of spirituality.
– SWAMI DHARMANANDA SARASWATI, author and yoga master.
Written with both clarity and insight, this is a rare and enriching book, which integrates the wisdom of many spiritual traditions. Whilst illuminating the need now more than ever before to explore interspirituality, our universal commonality and deeper spiritual nature, it shows the way forward for embracing the Whole.
– EILEEN DAVIES, international medium and spiritual teacher.
A nice blend of the scientific, philosophical, Christian and spiritual views that make it a must read...
– MYSTIC LIVING TODAY.
ABOUT GLYN EDWARDS
Glyn is internationally recognized as one of the UK’s greatest mediums and teachers of spiritual and psychic science. At sixteen he joined a Benedictine community. He later became a protégée of the renowned medium, Gordon Higginson, and cofounded The Gordon Higginson Fellowship (www.ghf-web.com). He is a certificate holder of The Spiritualists’ National Union, has been a regular and highly popular senior course tutor at the esteemed Arthur Findlay College for over three decades and has run workshops and demonstrated his mediumship throughout the world for over 40 years. He has coauthored acclaimed books on mediumship, recorded various teaching CDs and was given the name Devadasa (meaning servant of God) by the UK yoga master, Swami Dharmananda Saraswati Maharaj. He is particularly known for the quality of his teaching and his ability to demonstrate his mediumship almost effortlessly in front of large audiences. An anthology of his wisdom was released in 2012, entitled ‘The Potential of Mediumship: A Collection of Essential Teachings and Exercises ’. See Spiritualist Resources pages for more articles and books by Glyn.
ABOUT SANTOSHAN (STEPHEN WOLLASTON)
Stephen is a Council member of GreenSpirit, a member of their editorial and publishing team and the designer of GreenSpirit Magazine. He was given the name Santoshan (meaning contentment) by an English swami who trained at the Bihar School of Yoga, and has a creative background as a spiritual writer, graphic designer, artist and musician. He was the bass guitarist of one of London’s first punk rock bands, The Wasps, and is both an author and co-author of several acclaimed books on spiritual matters, including 'Spirituality Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life' (Earth Books 2011) and 'The House of Wisdom: Yoga Spirituality of the East and West' (Mantra Books 2007). He holds a degree in religious studies and a post graduate certificate in religious education from King’s College London and studied psychosynthesis psychology. He also helped to establish The Gordon Higginson Fellowship (www.ghf-web.com) and coauthored two popular development manuals (‘The Spirit World in Plain English’ and ‘Spirit Gems’) with the renowned UK medium and former Benedictine monk, Glyn Edwards. See Spiritualist Resources pages for more articles and books by Santoshan.