Spirituality & Mindfulness

Transitioning from Authoritarian "Outer" Authority to Spiritual "Inner" Authority

What Does Our Authority Rest Upon?
Image by PIRO4D 

Narrated by Marie T. Russell

Video version

For thousands of years, ever since mankind started settling in cities, we evolved in rigid, patriarchal and extremely authoritarian structures – at least in the West. This started changing after the industrial revolution and the pace has been picking up since the end of the last war.

Many authoritarian structures have become much weaker or have collapsed. Especially in Europe (but this will probably also happen in the United States), churches have quasi disappeared, and religion has lost almost all its prestige.

Teachers who were once expected to know everything are increasingly challenged by their students who sometimes know more than they do about certain topics, and official medicine is increasingly disputed by alternative medicines that are sometimes more effective.

Marriage and family are taking more and more diversified forms and, above all under the influence of the internet, the context of information has been totally transformed. Everyone has to decide what information is most authoritative in managing their lives.

The Covid 19 crisis is a clear example. Every citizen who knows how to use the internet intelligently discovers that some official information is highly questionable. So, either we obediently follow the official information, without racking our brains over it (and I understand perfectly those who make this choice which I totally respect) or each one does his/her own research.

Spiritual Authority

In the field of spirituality, the question of authority also arises, because doing a spiritual search alone is not easy and poses big challenges.* Following a spiritual master, or a very precise teaching, is reassuring but the day will come when, if you don’t want to remain totally dependent on teachings coming from an external authority, you will have to look for this inner source of authority for which there is a series of names: infinite cosmic Intelligence, the Source,  divine Understanding, infinite Love, the “little voice” as Eileen Caddy called it in her book Opening Doors Within.  

The word used to describe it is not really important. What matters is that there is a totally inner authority that speaks in the silence of the heart. The Quakers understood this from the beginning: their worship services for centuries have been simply an hour of group silence, with the occasional person standing up to share a Spirit-inspired message.**

In his book The Art of Spiritual Healing, the great American mystic of the last century, Joel Goldsmith, offers illuminating passages on how to contact that inner silence that will sooner or later become your ultimate guide and authority. Here you will find the answer to any question whatever it may be, and above all you will find that sublime peace “that passes all understanding".

The Essence of True Spirituality

For over 60 years I belonged to forms of organized religion. These still play a useful role for some individuals who need to have verbal formulations of truths and liturgical and cultural forms that reassure and comfort.

However, we live in a world where increasingly everything is challenged and each one is called to define what rings true and is meaningful to them, considering the collapse of traditional authorities, whether it be in the field of spirituality or ethics, health, diet or education.

This seems to me to be especially true in the area of religion and spirituality. I believe personally that organized religions will fade away and become a practice combining personal development and spirituality, such as taught by Dr. Joe Dispenza, for example.

A friend sent me recently the beautiful image included in this text:

Kindness has no church Peace has no religion Compassion has no temple Love has no borders


Kindness has no Church

Peace has no Religion

Compassion has no Temple

Love has no Borders


I have known too many so-called atheists whose daily lives  overflowed with kindness and too many religious bigots in whom one didn’t sense any iota of compassion nor the slightness ripple of love, to be impressed with great declarations of faith – and I say this as a former theology student who very quickly made a radical change. As far as I am concerned, the only thing that counts is: “Am I progressing in my ability to love?”  This constitutes my Ten Commandments, my Bhagavad Gita, my Sermon on the Mount, my Koran, my Four Noble Truths and my heart Sutra, my Manifesto and my Tao Te Ching. 

Certain tools can be useful, even very useful, such as a spiritual guide, provided she/he brings me closer to living love. And in this regard, I am still in kindergarten (though some friends protest and tell me, “come on, you are in first grade …”) but it doesn’t change much.

The positive side is that I know I will never be out of work, whether in this life or a future one!

* I attempt to answer this question (the question of authority) in more detail in my new book, Comment Trouver mon Chemin Spirituel (How to find my spiritual path) which will be published in French in 2022 by Editions Jouvence, and I hope later in English.

** You can find on the internet the complete list of the Quaker meeting centers throughout the world.

©2021 by Pierre Pradervand. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the author
and taken from the author's blog.

Book by this Author

365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World: Really Living One’s Spirituality in Everyday Life
by Pierre Pradervand.

book cover: 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World: Really Living One’s Spirituality in Everyday Life by Pierre Pradervand.Can you imagine what it would feel like to never feel any resentment for any wrong done to you, gossip or lie disseminated about you? To respond with full awareness to all situations and people rather than react from your gut? What freedom that would entail! Well, this is just one of the gifts the practice of blessing from the heart, i.e. sending out focused love energy, will do for you. This book, from the bestselling author of The Gentle Art of Blessing, will help you learn to bless all situations and people as you go through the day and add overwhelming joy and presence to your existence.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

More books by this Author

About The Author

Photo of: Pierre Pradervand, the author of  the book, The Gentle Art of Blessing.Pierre Pradervand is the author of The Gentle Art of Blessing. He has worked, travelled and lived in over 40 countries on five continents, and has been leading workshops and teaching the art of blessing for many years, with remarkable responses and transformational results.

For over 20 years Pierre has been practising blessing and collecting testimonies of blessing as a tool for healing the heart, mind, body and soul.

Visit his website at https://gentleartofblessing.org

More Articles By This Author

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