Reverend Eileen Mahoney gifts MysticMag with her gentle approach to Spiritual Companionship.
Eileen, what can you tell us about your personal journey of spiritual growth and development?
I was lucky enough to have been brought up with a good Roman Catholic experience rather than a painful one. I had beautiful experiences of music, rituals, prayer and some of these pulled me forward, serving as the underpinnings of my spiritual growth. In terms of my spiritual development, I believe all children have a sense of the Divine and God, it is an innate quality that we have as humans but unfortunately it tends to get buried by culture, trauma, life experiences.
As a child I was very devout and loved all the rituals and festivities that went with my faith. This stood me in really good stead for what I was to go through later in life. I experienced trauma and abuse in my life, and later I turned to addiction. I realized I really needed help. I asked for help, and I received it. For me personally, the Divine often shows up through people. This is really how I got started on this journey.
Viriditas, the greening of the soul – How would you quantify this and how did this term first resonate with you?
This is an ancient Latin word coined by Hildegard von Bingen. This word to her meant fertility, freshness, greening of the Earth, and the greenness, the aliveness of the Divine. When I first encountered it, being a lover of nature, I was totally inspired and the phrase ‘greening of the Soul’ came to mind. It speaks of the eternal aliveness of our souls and the need for us to refresh them so that we can live from our True alive selves, loving and being of service.
Viriditas, the greening of the soul is a reminder and a way of healing which help keep us refreshed and alive in our lives, continually revivifying our souls. It also connects us to caring for each other and our green planet.
How do you work with those who seek your help?
My practice is totally client centered and very much depends on the person and what their needs are. Most of the time I find that if I am present and actively listening with compassion, people arrive at their own results and outcomes quite comfortably. That is true whether they are working through some suffering or wishing to deepen their spiritual lives.
I companion, I do not direct. I believe that we all have our own answers and sometimes we simply need help getting to them or uncovering them.
So, I walk with a person and sometimes might have some suggestions, tools or ideas that could help someone on the way.
I am also an Expressive Arts Therapist and a Mindfulness Meditation Practitioner and often combine those elements with the people I companion, if they are interested and open to it of course. I do find any art form very helpful in terms of accessing one’s True self and what is going on in the soul. Using art for the soul never requires skill nor artistic experience whatsoever.
Can you explain the principle of, “No Mud, No Lotus,” and the importance it plays in your practice?
No Mud, No Lotus – The art of Transforming Suffering is a book that was written by Thich Nhat Hanh, who was my Buddhist teacher. I was blessed enough to attend a retreat where someone presented this whole body of work. It blew me away. I find the metaphor very meaningful.
A lotus will only grow in mud. However, we judge mud believing it to be smelly, dirty, sticky etc… but there must be something in that mud that is good enough to nurture this lotus as it grows into a beautiful flower. Anybody who has experienced wounding of any kind (and I know this from my own experience) feels as if they are in the mud. But this mud, this ugliness in our lives is really where the nutriments for the lotus are located. The gift, the blessing is in the mud and enables the flower to blossom. We don’t often realize this at the time when in the middle of the pain and the transformation. No Mud, No Lotus, a condensed way of reminding us that however bad life may seem in the moment, it will get better, even beautiful. There is beauty in the mud! In our woundings there are seeds that can grow into something new and incredible.
I find it immensely powerful to do workshops with this metaphor – people find it very helpful.
Is Spiritual Companionship something that can traverse any cultural, traditional and religious boundaries?
Yes absolutely. It is only limited by the experience and open-heartedness of the practitioner. Every major religious tradition has a variation on spiritual companioning, so yes it is completely transferable. Cultural differences may be a challenge at times but spirituality transcends culture, religion, tradition and all boundaries. This is demonstrated by the many Interfaith Interspiritual communities around the world.
If you would like to find out more about Reverend Eileen Mahoney, visit https://greeningofthesoul.com/ or follow on https://www.instagram.com/greeningofthesoul1/