Excerpt from Chapter 5

The journey through Name, Praise, Master and Unify principles have brought us to the central principle among the nine, Serve. Along with its religious counterpart, worship, this principle affects all of us as we witness and use it to advance our predisposition to be successful. Volunteering or regular worship stems from an inner spiritual commitment to humanity and may be expressed or latent. The irony is the lack of recognition for why we serve may be one of the reasons religions are formed.
The idea of spirituality begins as a small seed in people and is destined for longevity if cultivated. In an imagined scenario, elders of a spiritual movement realize: “We are not doing enough; let us get the people together to recognize Spirit properly.” The seed of organizing spiritual commitment thus begins. People become excited by it and want to contribute and expound on how they have benefited. The project becomes digestible and easy to comprehend, honor, and repeat.
The elders may begin to require certain ritual acts in specific forms. They may detail operating procedures and congregant roles, and calendar the timing and techniques of the sanctioned awakening of the believers. Highly specialized naming, name-calling and praise words—incantation, chanting, prayers and rituals of praise or acknowledgment—water the seed that help to grow and structure the organization. These actions evolve from the collective’s seventh sense of connection to the object of praise, with the intense intention to collectively give the Divine its due.
How the elders and their followers formalize spirituality is as if a parent decides to homeschool her children and undergoes a major shift in her life. She elevates her experience of home schooling into formally teaching at a school. That love of molding and shaping young lives eventually becomes a decision to create her own institution—a school of higher education—offering courses, certificates and degrees to recognize the received knowledge of students. It all began with the maternal and fervent desire to feed and nourish her inquisitive children, to ensure the blossoming of their lives.
Similarly, for a small group of spiritual individuals, the urgent need to feed and nourish the spiritual yearnings of members is palpable and must be addressed. A single leader may stand out as directing the process, or the collective may form a mutual consensus for outlining their strategic development and growth plan. Becoming an organized religious body takes care of many human needs such as those identified by Maslow (p. 133). With the integration of rituals and procedures, with every member having a special role, if only as a steady congregant, a neat package is now a deliverable.
The spiritual organization is now a service to the community. Anyone may board this ship going to heaven, Paradise, nirvana, the throne, the void. Some spiritual-turned-religious groups choose to recruit certain types of adherents and knowingly or unwittingly  turn their organization into a cult or secretive sect in the process. They are self-serving rather than soul-serving and this result also may be unintentional.
Those organizations that are transparent cater to all seekers. They welcome anyone who likes the rhythm (unifying steps) and vibration (energy level) of the collective as a whole, its people, and its gathering place of worship. Preferences may change from generation to generation, and become influenced by changes in demographics, location and political climate. The original mission, to serve the spirituality of the collective—their devout longings—and help them manage the here-and-now and the hereafter, can easily get lost in the shuffle. Because it is organized, however, with a written or codified description of processes and expectations, the “house of worship” may not implode. If it does, it may be revived by succeeding generations or a different group of people altogether.
Some seekers see both the forest and the trees and are not fooled by dogma that limits spiritual seeking. They lament the enterprise of formalized worship; how it takes the praise words and deeds and sets up an altar for the religion itself, instead of the original, deserving manifestation worthy of praise. They weep that the pursuit of the whole-and-completeness of their spirituality has become a weapon to control, covet and harbor rather than disseminate. They cringe that the admirable initiative of the collective to Name-Praise-Master-Unify now demands a marketing approach: services delivered to the crowd. (….continues)


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