Ever since the Fox sisters first experienced the rapping in their Hydesville home, Spiritualist phenomena have developed in the same spontaneous manner.
At no point did someone say; "Hey guys, let's form a new religion." It happened of its own accord and in many places at the same time - a cross correspondence on a gigantic scale. But this spontaneity has left us with an inconsistent legacy. There are gaps to be filled in our philosophy.
The arguments will still rage concerning reincarnation, our relationship to Christianity and the big questions of religion. Our tolerance has made us reluctant to follow a dogma. Intuition and spirit advice continue to be our guides. I approve of this attitude but feel that there is an over-looked area where we need to deliberately structure our ideas. We need an esoteric system, a yoga to help our mediums develop and flower.Here lies our weakness -bad mediumship. Yet given the appropriate systems our demonstrators can greatly improve their latent gifts.
Gordon Higginson used to say, "mediums are born not made." He was right, but only up to a point. Yes, you need a natural gift in the first place but it is dedication, hard work and training that makes it flourish.
The techniques used in development circles are similar to the Eastern traditions of Raja and Kundalini yoga. We talk about the chakras. These are the centres of energy that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and correspond to the major nerve centres and endocrine glands of the body.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel - a spinning vortex of auric energy. Yoga calls this energy prana which is another word for the same healing energy or life force that we use in our work.
Spiritualism owes a lot to the ancient Eastern traditions, But some of the talks I hear from the platform demonstrate a sloppy knowledge of yoga and contain many misconceptions about the chakras.
The worst inconsistency concerns the spleen centre, Some leading Spiritualist teachers suggest we raise the energy from the base of the spine firstly to the solar plexus centre, then to the spleen and upwards through the heart, throat, brow to the crown of the head. Wrong. The spleen centre comes before the solar plexus, but many exponents are still teaching the opposite.
This is just one example. My point is that there are weaknesses and inconsistencies in our systems and the whole subject should be carefully thought out.
Stansted should then issue detailed guidelines for church circles. It is refreshing to see that Tibetan monks have recently lectured at the Arthur Findlay College in Essex. Could they not help us to perfect our techniques?
Mediumship and clairvoyance are low down on the yogi's list of priorities. They are considered as sidhis or powers that are acquired on the pathway to enlightenment.
Spiritualists disagree (our goal may not be Nirvana) but there is still a great deal to gain by studying these ancient teachings.
Some of the areas that de-serve investigation include breathing techniques to in-crease prana energy, meditation methods to promote concentration and contemplation and some of the more specialist uses for the chakras.
I have introduced the members of my own development circle to some of these techniques and I am very impressed at the speed of their progress. Eastern techniques prove to be working. I am not saying that we should all become yogis, but I do feel that Spiritualism's philosophy has much to lean. Mediumship has not peaked.
The great mediumistic achievements of the past were just the start. Times have changed. Mental mediumship has replaced physical phenomena.
Now it is our duty as mediums to progress and perfect mental mediumship, and I say we can do this by looking East.