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Spirituality of Chivalry-Now

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Although the spirituality of Chivalry-Now permeates all its ideals, let's consider it, for the moment, as its own domain.
     When I refer to the spirituality of Chivalry-Now, I am not referring to an invisible world of angels and demons, or a dimension separate from time and space. In fact, it doesn't reference anything beyond our everyday experience. This is the world we live in. There is more to it than we normally acknowledge.
     This makes the spirit of Chivalry-Now open and available to everyone, no matter what their creed or lack thereof. We don't have to add elements to spirituality that require a leap of faith or particular dogma. What we seek is always right in front of us.
     Spirituality is a conscious relationship with the mystery that we live in and are part of—the Mystery of existence. We refer to this as mystery because we know that the universe exists, but can't explain how or where it came from.
     We normally place these mysteries aside and look at life with a familiarity that leads to numbness instead of awe. We talk of spirit and soul as if their meanings were obvious. The certainty we enjoy, however, is as ephemeral as an autumn breeze, our confidence based on illusion. The truth is, our every waking moment is confronted by unfathomable Mystery and we fail to see or acknowledge it.
     Spirituality is the acknowledgment of Mystery that fosters a relationship with it in our everyday lives. While even a statement as innocuous as that might seem like mumbo-jumbo, it carries an obvious imperative: We don't know the secret of existence. By including that mystery in the grasp of what we know, our knowledge of truth becomes that more complete.
     Religions have long enticed us with symbols and spiritual answers. They point to scriptures for proof, scriptures that demand our belief, as if faith in itself were enough to make their claims true. Consumerism tells us that it doesn't matter what we believe, as long as we live for the day and purchase as many inessentials as possible. Even life and love fail us with their impermanence.
     No matter what we believe or fail to believe, Mystery remains, silent, transparent, ever-present, and therefore more real. Everything we see, including us, would not exist except for the paradox of something coming from nothing. It is this indescribable magician's hat where our train of reason crashes.
     Here we find both the source and nothingness, within which everything exists. Here we find the ubiquitous question mark that precedes and answers all our questions without words.
     Chivalry-Now finds important clues about Mystery in tales about the Holy Grail. The power of these clues come from stories of the archetypal Quest, grounded in our own psyches through the dynamics of myth and legend. Their validity is gained through centuries of archetypal ponderings of world we are part of, and how it relates to human consciousness. In other words, from the very relationship with Mystery itself.
     The Grail stories concern themselves with a particular object of veneration, usually called the Grail. This object has been various described as a jewel or stone; a chalice or cup; a platter or basin. Christian legends identify it as the cup of the Last Supper, but its roots are far more ancient and universal. We are obsessed with it even today.
     While the variations are legion, we can extract a general plot to explore:
     Tthe protagonist is usually a knight of youthful inexperience. One day he enters a mysterious castle where he is presented with a vision of the Grail. The object sheds it own light, like the sun, and is venerated by the castle residents. The young knight sees it, yet fails to ask what it is, or what it does.
     This failure to ask is important. He fails the requirement of the Grail (which symbolizes the mystery of life) because he fails to question it. This differs significantly from other mythical journeys, where the hero is challenged by some threat which must be conquered, or is confronted by a riddle he must answer. Instead, he sees something mysterious and fails to respond. Because of this, the castle and the Grail end up vanishing from his view.
     He later learns that if he had inquired about the Grail, the Grail King would have been healed of a terrible wound inflicted on his manhood. In Celtic mythology, the king represents both the land and the people on it. When the king suffers, so does everything else.
     Understanding this, the knight is spurred to rectify things. He searches for the Grail castle, but can't find it. The world around him has become a wasteland where people barely survive. If he had spoken up, as natural curiosity should have prompted, all this suffering would have ended.
     He confronts many adventures during this Quest, and learns from them all. After months or even years of searching, he finally confronts the Grail Castle again, sees the Grail and inquires about its secret. The King is healed and the land with him.
     The lesson is simple. This knight, be he Perceval, Gawain, Galahad or Arthur, is a follower of chivalric ideals that project him a force for good. But there is more to life than combating evil. There is a mystery that follows us everywhere, a mystery that reveals itself only sporadically, in unexplainable ways. In our own lives, we see hints of it in glorious sunsets, or pondering the infinity of stars, or the intricate details of a dragonfly's wing. Wordless. Selfless. Almost time-stopping. Something real yet transcendent of thought or explanation. We experience it like a whisper or spiritual affirmation. The bible offers a profound description:

"I Am, That I Am,"
"Be still, and know that I am God."

We generally call this a mystical experience, but that convenient term misses the mark. It is a universal experience we all have at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, like the young knight, we usually fail to sufficiently ask what it is. We have "more important things" to do.
     We may enjoy it momentarily, ignore it, fear it, or be thrilled by its sheer grandiosity. What the Grail stories tell us is that we are required, for the health of the world around us, to do more. The Grail experience is nothing less than a conscious connection to the great Mystery of existence, which metaphorically calls to us. We either respond or we don't.
     Chivalry-Now, like chivalry-then, urges us to respond with our whole being. When we are aware of the Mystery, when we relate it to everything we see and do, we become more complete human beings, rooted in sublime truth. We treat people better, even with all their (and our) faults. We respect and love the world we live in. The Grail affirms what Genesis tells us, that the world is good.
     Here we find spiritual validation for all the values that Chivalry-Now represents. This affirmation, this inner acknowledgment, contributes to our perceptions and guides our actions. By understanding this fully, we need no further revelation. By holding on to the memory of the Grail inside us, we learn deeper truths experientially, every day of our lives.
     This happens only when we awaken our hearts and are open to it. Only when we choose to imbibe from its truth as we experience it daily. Here, in this grand affirmation, we find the authenticity of life that spirituality offers.
     Our hero was closed to it at first. Only when he learned how the world suffers without this insight, did he commit himself to finding it again. He asked and then lived the proper questions. He learned. He lived a brave and virtuous life, and the world was better for it.
     How could it be otherwise? There's no doubt that we are surrounded by a mystery we cannot fathom, despite all our wealth knowledge. The life that informs us is part of it. The Chinese call it Tao, while also acknowledging that the Mystery itself, whatever we call it, remains nameless and formless.
     The ideals of Chivalry-Now are rooted in the affirmation of our existence as something of immense value. They tell us not to waste our lives, but to perfect ourselves as best we can, to make humanity itself something to be proud of.
     In this way we connect the transitory nature of life with the permanence that it comes from—whatever that permanence may be. Here we find subtle meanings that normally escape us. Without this direct affirmation, and the connection that it brings, we remain disconnected, incomplete, like abandoned children in need of parental insight.
     The spirituality of Chivalry-Now calls us, as individuals, to relate with truth in an honest and forthcoming manner. Not as passive followers, but as active seekers. It calls us to think and feel with consciousness of the moment, seeing through illusions that otherwise blind or deceive us.
     We do not profess to have all the answers in our spiritual awareness. If we did, what purpose would there be in the Quest?
     On the other hand, we do not ask for you to believe in anything unbelievable either, or on faith, or some appeal of arcane sources.
     With that in mind, we invite you to join us by participating in your own own personal Quest.



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