Spiritual Power: How It Works

Spiritual Power: How It Works

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by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

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Asking the question How can we use spiritual power to help heal and transform the planet? this visionary book contrasts spiritual and worldly power, and introduces an esoteric tradition that needs to be reclaimed. This vital knowledge, held in trust by spiritual masters, shows how spiritual power can work in the world, and how each person can make a dynamic


Asking the question How can we use spiritual power to help heal and transform the planet? this visionary book contrasts spiritual and worldly power, and introduces an esoteric tradition that needs to be reclaimed. This vital knowledge, held in trust by spiritual masters, shows how spiritual power can work in the world, and how each person can make a dynamic contribution to help the world evolve.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"If you want to learn how to be in service to the planet, Spiritual Power is an invaluable book. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee shows us how we can direct our energy and light to create change. He shares his deep and profound insights about the true definition of power in a way that creates questions and answers as we move to the next evolution of consciousness. A brilliant and much needed book!" —Sandra Ingerman, author, Soul Retrieval and Medicine for the Earth

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The Golden Sufi Center
Publication date:
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5.25(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.57(d)

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Spiritual Power

How It Works

By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The Golden Sufi Center

Copyright © 2005 The Golden Sufi Center
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-890350-31-4


Sources of Power

That boundless Power, source of every power, manifesting itself as life, entering every heart, that is Self.


In the heart of the world there are sources of power needed for the evolution of humanity and the whole of the planet. Without this energy we will remain stuck at the dawn of the coming era, unable to step into the sunlight of the future. At present, the doors to these places of power are closed, inaccessible. And we remain distracted and dominated by the dynamics of physical and economic force.

Real power does not belong to humanity. It is a gift from the inner worlds and carries a stamp of the divine. It is given for the sake of the whole, not for our own personal gain. The next step in our evolution includes accessing this power, and using it to assist in the tremendous changes taking place in our world.

In order to access these places of power, we first need to understand why they are hidden. There are many reasons that power is hidden from humanity. Often it is to protect it from being used for the wrong reasons or by the wrong people. We know of the danger of the dynamics of power and domination, how easily power corrupts and is corrupted. Spiritual power, power which belongs to the nonphysical realm, is as corruptive as worldly power, and often more dangerous because it is invisible and not so easy to recognize or defend against.

Traditionally, only initiates have access to frequencies of spiritual power; the greater the power the more demanding the initiation. Supposedly these initiations rejected those who were not pure enough, only giving access to those who could not be corrupted. However, such safeguards are rarely perfect, and human nature is too complex for any safeguard to be fully effective.

Because our present culture's focus is on the physical world, we are familiar with the misuse of power that belongs to this dimension; we have little awareness of spiritual power or its misuse. We see economic and political corruption around us, as well as the underworld forces of drugs, prostitution, slavery, and other forms of human exploitation. Our history, present and past, tells stories of military power that has been used to dominate and enslave. There is also the dark history of religious power, including the Catholic Inquisition and other forms of religious intolerance. But all these forms of power still belong to the physical, material dimension. Even psychological manipulation mainly has its end in physical or material gain.

Spiritual power belongs to a different dimension, and is invisible to someone who sees only the physical world. But this power is real and has a vast range of possibilities. Traditionally it can be used locally, to heal an individual, or in communities, for example to help the rains come. Or it can have a global dimension, involving the well-being and evolution of the whole. We can see the remains of past cultures that used spiritual power in the pyramids of Egypt or the stone circles of England. We may have lost the knowledge of how spiritual energies were channeled through these monuments, but we can sense their mystery and potency.

If the new era that is now being born around us is to come into fruition it needs spiritual power, on not just an individual but also a global scale. Many spiritual traditions and practices have given individuals a taste of spiritual energies that can free them from the prison of a solely physical, material life and open them to other dimensions. But if the future is to be for the whole of humanity and not just a spiritual elite, then we need to find the sources of power that can transform the whole — give the whole of humanity access to a different dimension, a different way of life. Without these sources of power the transition that is beginning will stagnate. It will not move beyond the individual.

These sources of power are present, but hidden. They have been protected from misuse and the dangers of corruption. And there are even forces that resist their discovery. But the time has come for them to be uncovered and used.


We need to reclaim spiritual power and learn how to use it. But how can we access it when we have forgotten its existence? How can we reclaim this power when it has been so carefully veiled? If we accept the existence of spiritual power, then we will need to accept that there are those among us who know how to use it.

In the last era in the West, matter was separated from spirit and the deity was imaged as a paternalistic figure in heaven, a spiritual realm accessible after death. The magi, the initiates who were masters of the inner worlds, witnessed the birth of Christ. But the Christian priesthood preferred temporal to spiritual power, and those who had direct access to the spiritual dimensions, like the Gnostics, were persecuted. The masters who knew how to use real spiritual power in this world wisely became hidden. As these spiritual masters veiled themselves, the knowledge of places of power and their use also became veiled; knowledge of their existence remained only in spiritual folklore.

Humanity busied itself with its material pursuits, and the spiritual was understood as belonging to a different reality from everyday life. Power became associated with might and domination, rather than understood as a source of energy that belongs to all of life, to be used for its benefit. Even when the industrial revolution brought us new forms of energy, such as electricity, their cost was the exploitation of nature and clouds of pollution. The notion of a power that is free and pure no longer belongs to our world. When we banished the spiritual dimension to heaven, we also exiled ourselves from the purity and freedom of its power.

The masters of wisdom, those who know how to use spiritual power, have remained among us. They are hidden in their apparent ordinariness. They do not need the trappings of worldly power, whose encumbrances could interfere with their work. Wealth or recognition holds no attraction for those who have passed beyond the confines of the ego and work for the well-being of humanity. If their knowledge and ability are to become known, it will mean a shift for them and their work. But they have been preparing for this transition. They have been slowly lifting the veils of protection that have kept them hidden. They are working more visibly in the world.

Yet the unveiling of these spiritual masters could easily upset the balance of worldly power. How can there be those among us who have access to a quality of power that is so different from all of our present images and concepts of power? Our worldly leaders pride themselves on their positions of worldly power and their ability to wield it. The structure of our civilization, our world order, is centered around their roles. This structure would be severely disturbed by the acknowledgment of a different level of power that does not belong to the dynamics of worldly domination, but to the ideal of spiritual servant-hood.

In the matriarchal era preceding the patriarchal era, spiritual power was in the hands of the priestesses. Some of the patriarchy's fear and persecution of the feminine can be traced to these ancestral memories. Much of the power used by the priestesses belonged to the ways of nature, its beneficial nourishing and healing qualities. Remnants of their wisdom can be found in the feminine lore of herbs and other forms of healing. It also had a dark side in the knowledge of poisons and spells. But there were deeper places of power belonging not just to the magic of the land but also to the movement of the stars and the patterns of creation. The priestesses understood the relationship between spirit and matter and how the energies of the inner and outer worlds interrelate. Shamanic traditions have kept alive some of this knowledge, but most has been lost.

When the soldiers of the emerging patriarchy killed the priestesses and destroyed their temples, their swords also helped break the bond between spirit and matter. Our understanding of the fluid, creative relationship between outer and inner, physical and nonphysical, which belongs to the feminine wholeness was sacrificed by their violence and domination.

As God retreated from earth to heaven, He took His power with Him. The priests still acknowledge the existence of divine power, but they lost the wisdom of how to use it. Sometimes we respect His might in the forces of nature that we cannot control, the hurricane or earthquake, or see His wonder in unexplained miracles. But we remain the children of our image of God, the victims of His beneficent or destructive energies. The idea of working together with such powerful forces has slipped from our memories.

Our image of an omnipotent God has ignored the role of His servants, those who have passed beyond the maya of creation and the limitations of the ego to give themselves in service. Some of His servants have been trained to work with His power, to function as intermediaries between His omnipotence and the needs of humanity. In the Sufi tradition they are known as the awiliyâ, the friends of God.

There have been some periods in our recorded history when we have remembered that real power belongs to God and those who are in service to God. In the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth century the Khwâjagân, or masters of wisdom, had great influence among the peoples of Central Asia. These predecessors of the Naqshbandi Sufi masters were known to have great spiritual power and wisdom, and even the worldly rulers valued their help and guidance. But recent history tells few stories of such cooperation. There have been tribal cultures who were guided by their shamans, and there is the unique example of Tibet, ruled for centuries by the reincarnations of the Dalai Lama according to spiritual principles and rituals. But a ruler having real spiritual power does not belong to the struggles of the last two thousand years, where physical force and might in battle have been the dominant forces. We may acknowledge divine power in our private prayers, and acknowledge that some events may be due to the will of God. But we have no real understanding of how His power can play a part in world affairs. God and His power belong mainly in heaven, and we are left on earth with our own struggles.


Spiritual power is real. Many spiritual students will have experienced some form of spiritual power on their quest, particularly when they encounter a real spiritual path or teacher. They sense an energy that is unlike anything they have known. It can have many qualities, a sweetness, light, an unexpected strength, a sense of something intangible that carries a presence. Often it is what attracts them to a path.

Unfortunately, many seekers are also deceived by what appears as spiritual power, mistaking personal magnetism, sexuality, psychological manipulation, or the subtle dynamics of codependency for a real inner experience. In the West our lack of understanding of the spiritual world has resulted in a naiveté that is easily exploited by someone pretending to have access to spiritual power. We also confuse psychic ability or clairvoyance with spiritual maturity. In our hunger for an experience beyond the physical we can get caught in spiritual illusions.

Spiritual power can be achieved through spiritual practice, or it can be given as a gift. Through spiritual practice the aspirant learns to access and channel certain energies from the inner planes. These energies are necessary for spiritual development, but they can also give the individual personal magnetism or other powers, for example the ability to read minds or see the patterns of future events. These are mainly low-level powers but they can be impressive to the uninitiated. Sometimes such powers can be used to manipulate or control others, even to accumulate wealth or worldly power.

But power that is still caught within the sphere of the ego is limited. There is a greater source of power that cannot be accessed by those trapped by the illusion of their own self. This is the power to which the masters of wisdom have traditionally had access, and which is used for the benefit of the whole. Like lesser forms of spiritual power, it belongs to the invisible inner world, but it has a very different quality and purpose.

This greater power cannot be achieved through effort. Severe spiritual discipline and practice are required, because the ego must not be allowed to interfere with its work. But the actual power is a gift. And there is a quality of freedom to this real power, because it is a reflection of That which is free, of That which cannot be limited. This power is rarely visible at work in the world.

Real spiritual power does not come from will or desire, but is a direct expression of an aspect of the divine. As such it carries a force and focus that belong to the Absolute, and have the stamp of divine will. Through spiritual power the will of the Absolute can be directly enacted in the world. This power does not have to follow the laws of creation because it belongs to the Creator. It is not caught in the patterns of cause and effect, by which most intentions become diluted or dispersed before they are fully enacted. When an intention is born in human consciousness, it enters the realm of duality, where there is a separation between intention and action. In the process of enacting an idea, the original purity of the idea inevitably becomes distorted. Shadow dynamics also interfere, which is where power dynamics enter. T.S. Eliot poignantly expresses this process:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.

However, real spiritual power does not belong to the realm of duality or the dynamics of cause and effect. It is born on the plane of pure being, or beyond, in the uncreated emptiness. It has the capacity to interact with creation without following the laws of creation, without being caught by duality and its shadow dynamics. It is often the lack of any shadow dynamic to this energy that makes it invisible — we perceive things most easily by the shadows they create. Light upon light is more difficult to perceive than light upon darkness.

This spiritual energy that comes from beyond duality, enacted by a master who has been made free from the relative world, can come directly into life without being caught in the play of opposites and its unfolding dramas. It has the capacity to enact the will of the divine in its simple essence. Something just happens. This is what we call a miracle, when there is no logical cause, no pattern of events that appears to cause something. It just is. The divine enters life without the play of opposites, without following the process of creation. This is what makes the intercession of the divine so simple and potent.

Contrary to our conditioning, the intercession of the divine is not caused by a father-figure God carefully tending His children. There are more forces at work in the beyond than we can imagine; there are beings of light and beings of darkness that guide these forces and there are laws which direct them in their work. There are, in fact, very exact laws concerning the intercession of real spiritual power. These laws follow very different principles from human laws that are bound by the play of duality, the apparent opposites of good and evil. For example, the laws of oneness cannot follow the principles of duality and the opposition of good and evil, because on the plane of oneness there is no such duality. And there are other laws in the uncreated worlds, in the realms of nonbeing through which the energy of the divine flows.

When the worlds are kept separate, the laws of one dimension do not interfere or interact with the laws of another. It is when different levels of reality come together, for example, when the dimension of oneness interacts with the plane of duality, that confusion can occur. Sometimes it may just seem that a miracle has occurred. But the intercession of a higher plane can also have seemingly negative effects, causing destruction or chaos, as for example when the biblical flood came and God cleansed a corrupted world.

We tend to think that God is good, but anyone who has passed beyond the images of dualism knows that the divine is not limited by human morality. There are depths of darkness in the divine that human consciousness cannot bear to encounter, just as there are dazzling rivers of light that would blind us. That is why these levels of reality are traditionally closed to the uninitiated. The trials and tests of spiritual initiation are needed to prepare our consciousness for these vaster horizons.

Humanity is protected from light that it cannot contain, from darkness that does not originate in ignorance and greed. But sometimes there is a need for the beyond to break through our veils of protection and interact with human affairs. Often these interactions are themselves carefully veiled, so as not to disturb the illusions of humanity, of human beings' sense of self-determination. Containers are created in the inner and also in the outer world to give divine energy to humanity without overwhelming it. Some of the ancient monuments like the stone circles and pyramids served this purpose. Their patterns of sacred geometry and alignment with the magnetic power lines of the planet allowed the energy to flow from the inner to the outer with harmony. The priests of these sacred sites made sure that the inner and outer were kept in balance. Music that has a sacred dimension was also a vehicle for divine transmission, as were other sacred ceremonies.


Excerpted from Spiritual Power by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Copyright © 2005 The Golden Sufi Center. Excerpted by permission of The Golden Sufi Center.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi teacher in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujadidiyya Sufi Order. He is the author of many books, including The Bond with the Beloved: The Inner Relationship of the Lover and the Beloved, Catching the Thread: Sufism, Dreamwork, and Jungian Psychology, and Sufism Transformation of the Heart. He lives in Inverness, California.

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