Are We a Good Match for this Work?

Portrait of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Gambhira, Puri, drawn by an artist commissioned by King Prataparudra.

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya

caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama to you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

Sri Guru pranama, with translation from Sri Gaudiya Giti-guccha, compiled under the guidance of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja.

In spiritual accompaniment work, it is ideal if there is some theological and philosophical affinity between the spiritual director and directee. Please note that affinity does not mean sameness, as we do not have to be the same to work well together in spiritual accompaniment. So that you can ascertain whether you feel any intuitive affinity for working with me, I’ve described my theological and philosophical leanings below. I would treat the first three sessions with any new directee as a trial period, (so that we could better determine whether we were a good match for ongoing work together).

The spiritual lineage to which I belong is one of four extant Vaisnava lineages coming out of ancient, Vedic India.  A Vaisnava is a worshipper of Visnu, a name for the one God with many names. We are essentially monotheistic, (one God with manifold plenary portions, expansions and incarnations), and theological personalists, (for whom God is The Supreme Person). Two of our most prominent theological acharyas are Madhvacharya (1238 – 1317 C.E., the chief proponent of theological dualism (dvaitavada), meaning that the living entity or individual spirit soul is inherently distinct from God, or non-identical with God), and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, (1486 – 1534 C.E., originator of Acintya Bheda Abheda philosophy, meaning inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference between the individual spirit soul and God).

The gold standard of spiritual accompaniment for me is very well represented by my spiritual masters.  I have experienced diksha or initiation from my initiating Guru, with whom I had a more outwardly formal, (though inwardly intimate), relationship that was primarily didactic and reverential in nature.  With my shiksha gurus, or instructing spiritual masters, I experience more informality, (without any reduction in the level of respect that is due them), which is natural to this type of guru-disciple relationship. With my gurus, what I find most helpful is the deep spiritual nurturance I receive, that we call vatsalya in our tradition. Simply put, I have suffered seemingly insurmountable devastation and destitution in this life, and my gurus have not only given me consolation but modeled for me how to find consolation with God for myself, and how to console others.

My approach is in-reach not out-reach based.  For me, spiritual maturity involves ever deeper trust that God can manifest in the hearts of anyone, anywhere, and at any time; my role being to bear witness, listen, and to facilitate and encourage this incredible unfoldment.  I have zero proclivity or taste for proselytizing, but I have what feels like infinite proclivity and taste for spiritual accompaniment. There are many people more learned and expert than I am for providing spiritual teachings in a class format. I prefer to work one on one or with couples, families and small groups. What I am good at, called to, and trained in is evoking, in safe, ethical, and loving relationship, what you are making of the teachings you’ve received; your inner struggles and resources, and innermost heart’s longings, to help you figure out and feel into your own authentic, positive, and progressive spiritual journey. One day, I hope to offer Vedic devotional spiritual accompaniment apprenticeship trainings and supervision, as well as writings and presentations on this topic.

I could work well with people who have knowledge and mystical experience of the nondual aspect of God, (the Brahman effulgence – or Brahmavadis), providing they do not consider God’s transcendental form and personality illusory, (Mayavadis). I would like to be there for and serve people who practice personalism theology and philosophy because I have found that we are sadly underserved and underrepresented, (and even misrepresented), in the helping professions, interfaith and spiritual direction fields.

With devotees, I would be a good spiritual accompanist for anyone apart from men in saffron, for reasons of Vaisnava etiquette and tailored professional ethics. My practice is affirming of women and tritiya prakriti or LGBTQIA+ folks. My role is not that of a spiritual teacher or guru in the classical Vaisnava sense, although in the broader sense of the 24 gurus, if even a parasitic wasp can be a guru, I’d like to think you would be learning something from me and with me! I am a woman in the grhastha (household) ashram, and this is my professional livelihood, for which I am qualified and well-suited. As such, I do charge for my service, and I do not conceive of it as pure bhakti, but as favorable to my spiritual life for the time being. I am under bona fide guidance on the path of yukta vairagya, and step by step am making my way to early retirement, devotional service, and bhajan in the holy dham, by the extraordinary grace and mercy of Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

I believe that the Vedic culture, history and knowledge given in the ancient Vedas is true, and that when unlocked by qualified and authorized Vedic teachers, those scriptures provide us with an overarching understanding of and appreciation for later human cultures, civilizations and wisdom traditions, including those of today’s modern world. Even though my ancestors and my ethnicity by birth make me indigenous to England, Celtic and Germanic Europe, and even though there are still a few living traces of the wisdom teachings of my ancestral peoples, (such as Druidry), I personally cannot fully live immersed in their cultural practices and values because they have very extensively been destroyed or lost. Then my more immediate ancestral peoples went ahead and stole, destroyed or erased much of what other indigenous peoples and cultures upheld and held dear. It seems that humanity is grieving for so much lost spiritual value that we can barely carry the grief burden anymore. Sectarianism runs rampant. I vow in my practice to help with the grief, and to do my own grief and shadow work for as long as I have breath.

English Oak Tree at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Oak Grove

I do find peace of mind, a sense of belonging, and consolation in the teachings of earth based, Indigenous peoples throughout time and everywhere. I believe in advanced intelligent life on earth in antiquity, and on other stars and planets. I believe that spiritual knowledge comes down to us in a descending process. I believe in all forms of karma, from the instant kind to the intergenerational and collective. I believe in Vedic cosmology & cosmography. I believe in demigods and in the three modes of material nature. I believe in reincarnation. In short, I believe in the Vedic version, and in the sages who embody it and pass it down intact. However, I am peaceful, not fanatical about my beliefs or about being right. It is not necessary for you to believe what I believe for us to be a good match for this work. We’re just looking for an affinity, a reason to connect, then we start from there.

In spiritual accompaniment, I care about who you are, what you know in your heart, the unknown, what you aspire to and believe, and how I can be of service to you on your journey of God and self-realization.

I can be reached at welcomehomesoul@gmail.com