Your role as a spiritual helper. By Neale Donald Walsch.
The seventh step in becoming a spiritual helper is to:
7. COMMIT TO BEING A LEADER AND FORGET THE OUTCOME
This is another big step, because this step not only brings us to the attention of the world at large (Step Six), but catapults us into the position of leader in the world at large. This is different from all the other steps, because now we are not merely talking about finding companions on the journey, not merely assuring that others who are not on the journey will see us and know that we are there—we are now talking about choosing to lead the journey, to show the way.
This is about forgetting outcomes and moving into a new experience of yourself in which the experience itself is the outcome. It is about leading the way by showing the way, and showing the way by leading the way. It is about completing the circle, and having it all become one. A Spiritual Helper is always a leader, showing others the way, reminding others of who they really are, giving others back to themselves. Did you hear that? Did you understand the implication of that?
Please don’t be offended by these questions. Every day I have to act as if I never heard that before. Every day I seek to bring myself to a new understanding of what all of that means. Sometimes I can hear something and “not hear it,” know what I mean? And sometimes I have to say the same thing over and over again to myself to stop it from going in one ear and out the other. I’ve heard some things so often it’s like I’ve never heard them at all. I have to really focus to bring myself to such tidbits as if they were brand new. So sometimes I sound like I’m repeating myself, but that’s not always bad. ‘Cause it gives me a chance to hear the same thing over again, and hear it “brand new.”
So let me ask you again, did you hear that?
What I SAID was…a Spiritual Helper is always a leader, showing others the way, reminding others of who they really are, giving others back to themselves.
The implication of that is enormous. Because if you see this and embrace this and accept this wholly, nor merely intellectually, you will find yourself assuming the mantel of leadership in ways that you might never before have imagined.
This thing called leadership.
Let’s take a look at what I mean by the term “leadership.” On this planet there are two kinds: temporal leadership and spiritual leadership. I am talking here about spiritual leadership. Alas, suddenly everything clears up! Now all of us can become a leader.
Even though spiritual leadership is at one level much harder, much more challenging, than temporal leadership, it is also much easier. That is because everybody can step into it, without any physical or psychological skills required. You don’t have to be a good speaker. You don’t have to be a good organizer. You don’t have to be a lover of the limelight or the “life of the party.”
You can be shy or bashful, retiring or quiet of personality. This does not mean that you will not make yourself known as Who You Are. This does not mean that you will not self-identify. You will. You will follow Step One and Step Six (“Announce ourselves to each other,” “Commit to being known, commit to being free”). But you will do it in your own way, with your own particular style, in your own manner.
Yes, you may pick up some temporal leadership skills. You may learn a bit about public presentation, you may explore more deeply the material of the New Spirituality and learn how to present that material clearly and effectively. You may pick up some coaching skills and learn about ways that you can most profoundly be of help to others as they face personal challenges. But you will not be required or even invited to change your personality, to become something that you are not. Indeed, just the opposite will be true. You will be invited to become something that you are.
Your true identity.
What spiritual leadership is about is adopting your True Identity. It is about knowing Who You Are and claiming it. It is about living from the space of your soul’s grandest awareness. Spiritual leadership is about showing the way by being the way. (“I am the way and the life. Follow me.”) It is about assuming a new role.
As an actor, both on stage and in films, for many years, I am familiar with a phrase that is used to describe the person who holds the feature role in a production. When I hold that role I am said to be “playing the lead.” William Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and the people, the players.” Spiritual leadership is about understanding that, and playing the lead.
All of us can do this. It takes no special preparation. All of us come equally prepared, equally equipped, equally capable. Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you experience it or not, you are, at this stage of your life, ready to assume a lead role.
Read that last sentence again if you missed the double entendre. “At this stage of your life” is a common turn of phrase. There is more meaning built into it than most people seem to realize. The first thing you do when you arrive at this Theatre Called Life is what all actors do—you go into make-up. You put on the face that you choose for people to see, and it is important for you to understand that you are making it all up. There is one difference, however, between the Theatre of Life and your local community theatre.
As some wag pithily observed a long time ago: “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” This does not mean that you have no time to practice. You do. It’s just that you’re practicing in front of an audience. There isn’t an actor in the world who doesn’t practice his or her art in front of an audience. Actors are very used to doing that. They will experiment, they will improvise, they will try something new, and they will stretch to see where they can go and how far they can go with the character.
They have learned the art of making “mistakes” in front of an audience and not being intimidated by it or embarrassed about it. If they don’t like how they were in a particular performance, they examine what they did wrong and they change it the next time they play those scenes. There’s no “guilt,” there’s no recrimination, there’s no shame and there’s no punishment. There’s the show, the show, and only the show.
Actors live for The Show.
The biggest show there ever was.
It’s a Barnum & Bailey world, and your life is The Greatest Show on Earth. Your “act” is an act of self-definition. Each day you are defining yourself, choosing who you wish to be and creating yourself as that.
When you become a spiritual leader you are choosing to go one step higher with that process. You are choosing to look at yourself as you have just created yourself, and to recreate yourself anew in every golden moment of Now in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about Who You Are.
This invites a constant asking of yourself of the greatest question ever posed by anyone who is interested in personal transformation: What would love do now? Then it invites you to live the answer.
Some practical ways to take Step Seven
Taking this seventh step in becoming a spiritual helper is as simple as A-B-C.
A. Adopt a spiritual practice. It is very difficult to become a spiritual leader if you do not have a spiritual practice. We will discuss what “having a spiritual practice” means momentarily.
B. Show and tell. Spiritual leadership means that you choose to show others the way by being the way to a new and more wonderful life. It means that you create the change by being the change that you wish to see in your world.
C. Give up needing or requiring “results.” The spiritual mission of most people so often crashes on the shoals of unfulfilled hopes, expectations, self-demands, or results.
Now let’s take a look at how you can do this.
I believe that every person who earnestly and sincerely seeks to become a Spiritual Helper must first become a spiritual leader. That means that she or he must commit themselves to their own inner work, to their own spiritual development, to “finishing their unfinished business,” as my wonderful friend Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross used to say, so that they might lead the way, showing others the pathways out of darkness and despair, sadness and turmoil, anger and conflict.
With the commitment to one’s personal and spiritual growth nearly always comes a decision to take up a particular spiritual practice. Sometimes two. Sometimes even more. What do I mean by a “spiritual practice?” Well, praying is a spiritual practice. Meditating is a spiritual practice. Certain physical rituals, routines, and disciplines can make up a spiritual practice. Devotion is a spiritual practices. Work is a spiritual practice. Indeed, even reading can be a spiritual practice.
I would recommend all of the above in some measure. I would hope that a little of each of these activities could show up in people’s lives. In this very booklet I have recommended a large number of very good books that I hope you will read. I hope that you will take time each day to nourish and to expand your mind.
I hope that you will start (if you have not already started) some kind of regular physical discipline, or exercise program. It could be yoga. It could be tai chi. It could be Dahn Hak. It could be 40 minutes a day at the gym, or a 20 minute walk each evening after dinner, or 15 minutes on the treadmill morning and night. But get your body moving.
I hope that you will take time each day to connect with your soul. This could look like meditation in the morning and in the evening, it could look like prayers on a regular basis, it could look like chanting or drumming or Sufi dancing. It could look like any one of a number of things, but whatever it is, it happens regularly, and on some sort of schedule.
I hope you will take pains to straighten out your diet (if you have not already done so). I hope you will eat healthily, cut down on foods that are simply not good for you, and bring some discipline to your food consumption.
I hope that you will allow any personal indulgences that do not serve your health or your personal or spiritual growth to fall away. This would include smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and drug use. I hope you will create Right Livelihood and be one of those of whom it is said, “she has chosen to make a life, rather than a living.”
I hope that each week in your life you find a means of experiencing spiritual devotion. That is, a deep expression of love for life and for God as you best understand God to be, in a way that brings out pure devotional qualities. These qualities, or energies, are healing. They drive away anger. They cure resentments. They settle upset stomachs and upset psyches. What does devotional activity “look like”? Well, it may be a simple prayer of thanks over a meal. It might be going to church or synagogue or mosque once a week. It could mean creating a personal altar in your home, on which you place photographs or remembrances of teachers or messengers who have particularly inspired you, as well as flowers, candles, precious objects, even stones or twigs or miscellaneous items that have some personal meaning to you.
Perhaps you stop by this altar once a day or once a week and simply, quietly, contemplate the meaning and the feeling invested in all that you have placed there. Perhaps you allow yourself to silently, in your own private way, express gratitude to these teachers and messengers—and to life itself (which means, of course, to God) for all that you have and all that you are and all that you will yet come to be.
More practical suggestions
If you commit yourself to becoming a spiritual leader you will find yourself creating, every day, opportunities to express and experience that aspect of your being. Indeed, you will soon see all moments as opportunities to do just that. You will no longer see such opportunities slip by for failure to having recognized them.
Practice this today. Go into at least three moments today deciding ahead of time that you are going to use these moments to “show and tell,” expressing and experiencing yourself as a spiritual leader. Do not worry that this might constitute arrogance on your part. The universe understands full well what you are trying to do. You will not be chastised by life for it. Indeed, all the angels in all the heavens will rejoice. Do not, however, fall prey to the mistaken notion that exhibiting spiritual leadership in a particular situation means “correcting” the notions or behaviors of others. “Show and tell” does not mean that you tell other people what they are doing wrong and show them how to do it right. “Show and tell” means showing other people Who You Really Are, and telling them who they really are.
Of course, we show people who we are every minute of every day, with everything that we think, say, and do. Committing to becoming a spiritual leader simply means that we do it deliberately. It means that we do it with a thought in our mind ahead of time about Who We Choose to Be. Being a spiritual leader means picking the highest thought that we have about that in any given moment, and living it. And it means picking the highest thought about others that we ever had and we telling them about that thought inviting them to make it real in their experience.
Spiritual leaders are people who lead. The lead others back to themselves, returning everyone whose life they touch to the most wonderful idea they ever dared to hold about themselves. Everyone has an idea about herself or himself. For most people, that idea has shifted from their earliest thoughts to what they have come to agree with themselves about as time goes by. Rarely is this thought as elevated as the original notion. Your job as a spiritual leader will be to return people to their original notion about how wonderful they are. It is all as simple as that. This is what CwG means when it talks about “giving people back to themselves.”
Yet here is an important note. In order to do this, you are going to have to return to your own original notion about how wonderful you are. You cannot see anything in another that you do not see in yourself. Indeed, all that you see in another is what you see in yourself. (This is because there is no “other,” merely endless individuations of oneself.) Now here is some startling news. It doesn’t matter who you are. You are a spiritual leader.
You are leading the spirit of everyone whose life
you touch somewhere.
It is not a question of whether you are leading the spirit of another, but where.
…and that choice is yours.
Making the choice real
Now, as you move through your day to day life, ask yourself at the critical moments of your personal interactions, “What would I think right now if I saw my thoughts as leading this person’s spirit to the highest place it can go? What would I say right now if I saw my words as leading this person’s
spirit to the highest place it can go? What would I do right now if I saw my actions as leading this person’s spirit to the highest place it can go?”
Again, in order to lead another to their highest place, you must be in your highest place. You must be “coming from” your highest self. Say, then, at these moments: Highest Self, guide me now in all my thoughts, words, and actions. Choose these thoughts, words, and actions, and make your choices real by demonstrating them in your life.
Practice this as a Stopping Meditation. Watch yourself more closely. See yourself as you move through our day, experiencing your interactions with others. Even if it isn’t outwardly obvious, trust that you will have an inner sense of when a particular moment or encounter is significant. In that time of larger awareness, simply stop yourself. Stop whatever you are doing, saying, or thinking. Stop if only for a moment (in fact, that’s all you have to stop for) and ask yourself the Triune Question: What would I think right now, what would I say right now, what would I do right now, if I saw my thoughts, words, and actions as leading this person’s spirit to the highest place it can go?
You need not make an arduous task out of this. You can do this inwardly, quickly. After a while, it will become second nature.
Some final practical ideas
The most crucial part of this whole process is to let go of any need for results. Forget the outcome. You will find this very difficult to do if you believe that you are doing what you are doing in order to produce an outcome. That is not why you are doing it, nor is it why you are doing anything, but it can sure look that way.
CwG says that the only reason human beings do anything is to have a direct experience of Who They Are. Interestingly, most people do not know this. That is, most people have not examined their own innermost motive. The result is that they believe themselves to be doing whatever they are doing for other reasons. Or, sometimes, they don’t even know the reasons, and do they walk around asking themselves, “now why did I do that?”
The purpose of all “doingness” is “beingness.” WE do what we do in order to experience ourselves being what we are being. There is no other reason to do anything, and, indeed, no one does anything for any other reason. Some people find it difficult to admit this, because they have been told that such a motive is selfish, and they want their motives to be selfless. So they go about doing what they are doing for reasons exterior to themselves. They call these reasons results, or outcomes. They place the purpose of their doingness outside of themselves, often convincing themselves that it has nothing to do with themselves.
This is a spiritual impossibility and an intellectual lie, but it is a mental conceit that 95% of the human race engages in nonetheless. To be fair, they do not know that it is a conceit. They believe it to be true—for it is what they have been taught. And so, people go around doing this and doing that, doing this and doing that, and all they wind up with is a great big pile of do-do.
If they are invested in exterior results, if they need their doingness to produce a particular outcome in the world around them, and if this does not occur in fullness (it rarely does, by the way), they become “burned out,”— disappointed, disillusioned, disaffected, and disengaged. Only the person who does what she does for the deep inner satisfaction of simply having done it can avoid such burnout. This deep inner satisfaction is the feeling that comes from accomplishing what we came here to accomplish—which is to know who we truly are in our experience.
This is our pure intent in coming to the body: to use the body as a tool, and all of life as well, in the creation and the expression and the experiencing of Who We Really Are. This is our true motive, but most people, by not understanding this, keep their true motives hidden from themselves. They actually think they are doing what they are doing for someone else.
This false idea is the root cause of all resentment. Masters never feel resentment, because masters know they have never done anything for
anyone except the self.
Here is some startling news:
Selfless motives are impossible. Everything you do, you do for you. And this is how it should be. This is how it was designed to be.
I know that this idea violates everything that most of us have ever been told, but this is, nevertheless, the natural order of things. Self-interest is the only interest. This is because the purpose of life is self fulfillment. It is to recreate ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about who we are. It is to know who we are in our own experience. We are God, “godding.” God seeks to know Itself, through us. For Life is the physical manifestation of God. There is really no mystery about this. The only real mystery is, how do you define “self”?
Ah…here is where Masters and students separate on the path. Masters define the Self in one way, everyone else defines the self in another.
Spiritual leaders have observed how Masters define the Self, and spiritual leaders begin to shift not only their behaviors, but the reason for them, as a result of this expanded awareness. The reason for their leadership changes.
The last word on Step Seven
You are now moving through the process of such changes. You are expanding your awareness and altering your raison d’etre. The very fact that you are reading this booklet is an indication of that. The very fact that you understand it is evidence that you have already moved in consciousness to a new level. This is the only result that matters.
Yet the beauty and the wonder of this process (which is called, by the way, evolution) is that as you alter the reasons for your behaviors, your behaviors themselves, intended to produce an inner result, produce an outer result as well. In short, the world is a better place for your having been here.
Masters are never concerned with exterior outcomes, yet Masters produce exterior outcomes that astound the rest of us. The behaviors of all beginning students on the journey of life are all directed toward ensuring survival. The Master knows that survival is always assured, and this is what opens the Master to seeking a higher reason for her behaviors.
As a student, then, know this: Eeternal survival is a given, it is a guarantee, it is the state of things. This awareness will allow you to walk through the world with a whole different set of priorities, declaring a whole different set of truths, creating a whole different set of experiences, and appearing to function within a whole different reality. It is possible to achieve a new reason for being in this lifetime. The fastest way to move toward it is to lead others to it. That is what spiritual leaders do. That is what being a Spiritual Helper is all about.
Yet whether others get there or not is beside the point. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Do not be discouraged (and for heaven sake, do not stop) if others do not change as you have changed, do not see what you have seen, do not become what you have become. Walk in truth, and love, and light. Then, let each person walk their path. Say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. Follow me.” Then keep walking, whether they do or not.
* End of chapter 7 *
Copyright © 2005 Neale Donald Walsch. Published here by Gil Dekel with Neale’s permission. 1 January 2017.
Published in 2005 by Spiritual Legacies, Ashland, OR, USA. All rights reserved.