“There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Springtime and Easter bring thoughts of renewal as nature–and, perhaps, men–leave the often misunderstood darkness of Winter. That this brings many of us a reaffirmation of our spirituality, regardless of the name of our religion, cannot be doubted. Or, perhaps if can be doubted, but for many of us renewal is as natural as the seasons.

Symbols of renewal. Wikipedia Photo

Carl Jung, in his Red Book, referred to the spirit of the times as a force or set of forces that drew men into the temporal clutches of popular thinking. We often lose confidence in ourselves because the spirit of the times often seems so chaotic, fragile, focused on expedient ends, and sometimes predicts that one kind of doom or another is all the future holds.

It’s hard to ignore the spirit of the times because it’s our common currency. Yet, it sows doubt and can lead us to believe that renewal is something for another time eons into the future or am experience many steps or miles away from wherever we appear to be stuck at the moment.

The spirit of the depths, as Jung called it, appears as madness and insanity to those trying to live “properly” within the consensus spirit of the times. Yet that spirit contains all the great truths, everything that can be known about the cosmos and the Creator behind it and within it. We’re afraid of it and believe its truths are beyond us. So, we often speak of our spiritual journey as a lifetime or multi-lifetime trip. We look for destinations that “matter” and “steps that seem important” and experiences that seem to hold the keys to transformation. It’s vain to think otherwise, we believe, because the spirit of the times continues to lead us to believe that important goals take years to accomplish, and who are we to find the creator in a moment?

And yet, I cannot help but think that spiritual renewal–unlike the clock-like cycle of the seasons–has no timetable. Perhaps we rush hither and yon without grasping how we are changing and why we are going one place or another. While Springtime and Easter remind us of renewal, I rather think it’s always an eye blink away–whenever we’re ready. There’s no hurry: we’re ready when we’re ready, though it seems that we deny how close it may be by brainwashing ourselves to think it’s far away.

Like the “force” in Star Wars, it’s with us always. We’ll hear it better if we can tune out the loud and clamoring voices around us that tempt us to follow one fad or political party or spiritual journey of the moment.  That’s when we finally grasp that we’re already at the place where we’ve been going.


Great Energy Shift? I don’t know, though we definitely need one

“As we are heading into the Age of Aquarius, new energies are encompassing our bodies and are reflected in various physiological symptoms. Within this transition of the ages, many people will begin to feel many of these energy shift symptoms on a regular basis as our bodies are adjusting and upgrading to the higher frequencies.”

– from the Esoteric Metaphysical Spiritual Database

Is there really a great spiritual energy shift coming? I have no clue. I do know what there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of spiritual coaches, mentors, facilitators, teachers and writers spreading the word across the Internet that the shift is coming or has already begun and that they have the meditations, symbols, light language, breathing exercises, visualizations, and podcasts that will definitively place you on the right road to be part of it all.

I hope they are right.

newageThe world’s a mess now. We’re hearing this from both ends of the political spectrum, from experts at think tanks and research centers, and from mainstream and alternative religious leaders.

Perhaps there is a great spiritual transformation on the horizon. Or, perhaps there isn’t, but soon will be because it will be created by all the people passionately telling us that a great change is coming. Maybe they are creating their own self-fulfilling prophecy, assuming they aren’t really the first to know a secret the rest of us don’t accept yet.

In the 1960s and 1970s there as a new age movement with a lot of talk about the Age of Aquarius, the Silva Method, Transcendental Meditation, making love not war, and many people were convinced “this was it” in the same way others were convinced years ago that World War I was the war to end all wars. But then life went on with the same old problems and a lot of the new age faithful slowly returned to logical, mainstream lifestyles.

I often think we’re attracted to new age ideas and books like “The Secret” because we’re looking for a spiritual quick fix. I don’t necessarily think the beliefs behind the former new age movement or the current spiritual shift movement are wrong. My own beliefs are by no means mainstream. I just think it’s hard to stay the course. One goes to a spiritual retreat and returns to the real world freshly energized and with a new sense of purpose and certainty. But in the face of what the rest of the world thinks, they have trouble maintaining that high, keeping up with the visualizations and meditations, and slowly slip back into the muck of a mainstream lifestyle.

Perhaps there are more seekers now. Perhaps they have more endurance and will persevere in spite of the fact that everything they see in their workplaces, in their communities and on the news is telling them quite strongly they’re wrong.

At my age, I no longer have youth’s passion to be a preacher for any belief system, much less advertise myself on line as a spiritual coach. In fact, if I did have the energy, I wouldn’t do it because–great energy shift or not–I see beliefs as very personal and not something to be sold or taught. You’ll find some of my beliefs echoed in the beliefs of the characters in my novels. That’s the best I can do. I didn’t get the memo about a great energy shift, so I’m not going to try to convince you there is one, much less sell you a course about how to ride the whirlwind.

Truth be told, I’ve always thought that–as well-intentioned as  it may be–the missionary approach is misguided and arrogant. How can one say that his/her beliefs are better than the spiritual beliefs of another person or group? Perhaps I’m hiding behind my books. Hard to say. They are stories, though, rather than sermons.

My approach to spiritual ideas is that we all have the capability of discovering them for ourselves. I may be wrong about that, and since that’s possible, I won’t offer you a podcast or a DVD to bring you around to my way of thinking. If my novels and short stories suggest there’s something “out there” other than science, technology and doggedly earning a living, then I’m pleased. I don’t know any secrets to sell you, and that includes the real or imagined great energy shift.


SarabandeCover2015Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” The Sun Singer,” and “Sarabande.”



Don’t push the envelope, destroy it

Push the Envelope: To attempt to extend the current limits of performance. To innovate, or go beyond commonly accepted boundaries.

The Phrase Finder

As The Phrase Finder site reminds us, “pushing the envelope”–prior to Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book The Right Stuff–was a concept used primarily by mathematicians and engineers, including those exploring the idea of space travel.  Since then, the phrase has come into general use to mean going beyond the usual ways of doing things.

envelopeAs a writer, I focus on characters who either believe they are powerless and/or who seem to be powerless based on society’s perception of them.

If you have read my novels The Sun Singer, Sarabande, and Conjure Woman’s Cat, you have seen a common theme: protagonists in seemingly impossible circumstances who must go beyond the usual ways of doing things to survive.

The envelope, like the box, is a comfortable place. It contains our successes of the past and what we’ve learned from them. It’s risky to push it, much less destroy it. The envelope, like the box, is also a prison, cozy as it may be.

To change our situations and ourselves, we often have to destroy the envelope to get rid of the invisible restraints that keep us from finding power or even a simple solution.

This is a good place for storing stuff. It's a bad place for thinking.

This is a good place for storing stuff. It’s a bad place for thinking.

When Robert Adams destroys the envelope in The Sun Singer by stepping into an alternative universe, he doesn’t know who he is for a while. That’s a “real life” danger, too. But Robert learns and by the end of the novel he is much more than what he was at the beginning.

I’m not sure I would take the risks my characters take, but I can visualize what it might be like by writing my stories. When I read them later, my imagination takes off outside the envelope where I can explore the pros and cons of doing such a thing in my own reality.

My writing has changed me. No, it hasn’t turned me into a Gandalf or a Harry Potter, but it has made me very suspicious of people who say “we’ve always done it this way” and “doing what you ask is impossible.”


SarabandeCover2015Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Sarabande,” a contemporary fantasy coming out in a new second edition for Thomas-Jacob Publishing on November 1. Sarabande, like Robert Adams, must destroy the envelope to escape what has been haunting her.

If you read on Kindle, you can pre-order your copy today.