Vol 3 April 2003       

Carol's painting of Mt. Beluha
Russian Heart,
American Mind

by Carol Hiltner


There are a group of individuals who possess a kind of passionate dedication to the spirit of the Russian people in their new and hard-won freedom.

I am one of this group. In the past decade, I have made ten journeys to Russia, living at times in Moscow and hiking in the spiritually rarefied climes of the Altai mountain ranges.

Why am I, an American, interested in Russian mysticism? More to the point of this issue, why should you be?

It may help to answer this question if you know that in Russia, it is a widely held belief that the salvation of our planet can come only through the joining of the Russian heart with the American mind.

Our Russian friends read the Spirit of Ma'at avidly, sharing it with each other and translating its articles into their own language. They are working right now on a Russian edition of our webzine.

But equally, our Russian friends long to share themselves with us. Despite the hard work they face at home, struggling through the aftermath of almost a century of Soviet rule, they are willing to commit their precious spare time to making translations of the things they want us to read.

A New Kind of Power

Yes, Russia has fallen from its position as a political superpower — the kind of power Americans take for granted. But at the same time, and by the same act, she seems to have freed up a kind of energy that was always there just below the surface. This newly released energy is making her into a spiritual superpower.

Until very recently, Russia's politics kept this spiritual aspect hidden, even from her own people. But in the past decade, released from the shackles of Soviet-imposed atheism, her spiritual activity has simply exploded!

Today, groups and teachers across the entire range of human spiritual thought flourish there. Spiritual teachers and therapists visit Russia from the West. And people who may perhaps attract ten or twenty individuals to their workshops in the US may find themselves in Russia facing crowded halls, with standing room only and people flowing into the streets.

Why? Because Russians of many ideological stripes believe that it is only in the joining of their spirituality with American intellect that humanity will emerge from her current morass into the Light.

And so, while most Americans still place their faith in our home-grown, technological solutions, the Russians are working to incorporate the best of American thought within a broader kind of consciousness.

Spiritual Partnership

Russians are reaching out to rebuild and strengthen their own and the world's spiritual infrastructure. And in this rebuilding and strengthening, they see America as a necessary partner.

As partners, one might think that our contribution would be monetary. Certainly we possess more wealth than the average Russian can even imagine, much less hope to possess.

But that is not the wealth they seek from us. Rather, it is our ideas and intellectual heritage that interest them. And in return, they offer us a treasure beyond conception, a living mysticism that has been preserved and carried forth from time immemorial — since Ancient Egypt and beyond.

And more, they offer us a concept of personal spiritual connectedness that is foreign to most Americans. It is this connectedness that got the Russian people through the repressive Communist era, and before that, through centuries of autocratic political rule. They are practiced at this in a way Americans have not needed to be.

We can learn from them how to find solutions to our own global challenges — not the old derivative, technological solutions, but fresh, powerful, holistic ones.

Making This Partnership Work

How can we actually access this Russian "heart" in a pragmatic way?

The Russians have begun it. Many in their spiritual and scientific community are now actively working to open up communication with Americans. In doing this, they face two basic challenges: differences in language and differences in culture.

There is a vast amount of truly enlightened literature in the Russian language. And the Russian population is generally well educated and likes to read. It is possible for many Russians to translate texts into English — but that is only a first step. Without exception, the final editing must be done by native speakers of English. Also, resources are needed to publish and distribute the results.

This issue is a beginning. You will find here a spiritual smorgasbord of what the Russians would like to share with us — their first small contribution to the marriage they are proposing between the Russian heart and the American mind.