The Challenge Of Spiritual Leadership

In the world today, the media conveys to us stories and images of a world in confusion, a world in chaos, and indeed a world bedeviled by several calamities-natural disasters as well as self-imposed suffering and anguish. From whichever angle we view the world scenario, be it economic, socio political or even environmental, humanity seems to lack a sense of direction and focus as to what is best for individuals, groups, states or nations.

From that distant period, when human beings chose to begin communal life, the issue of leadership has remained topical and recurrent. Persons of all ages, races and eras in human history have had to lend their efforts at clarifying and contributing their own concepts in the process of elucidating this all important subject of leadership.

Apart from human activities relating to survival, there is perhaps no other human activity that is more important than the issue of leadership. This celebrated importance of leadership stems from the fact that the happiness, continued existence or survival, the future or destiny of a people usually depends to a great extent upon leadership.

Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual leadership is that form of leadership which draws its inspiration and raison d’etre from the spiritual fountain within us. It is one style of leadership which professes spirituality and which justifies each of its prescriptions on the basis of its spiritual content.

The concept of spiritual leadership is based on the argument that the human being is made up of two parts; one physical and one spiritual. The physical human being is that which is seen and can be appreciated by the five sense organs of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. 

The spiritual human being on the other hand is the invisible and intangible aspect of the individual which, although not as tangible as the physical aspect of the human being, is nonetheless noticeable in expression of itself. This aspect of the human being possesses qualities that are too lofty and too immaterial to belong to the physical aspect of the human being. These qualities which are often ignored by the majority but which are ardently sought after by the adept, do a lot of good to the human being that may eventually come to possess them.

These human qualities which are inscribed within each living soul did not reveal themselves easily. It took a long list of spiritual teachers and it took millennia for a number of them to be revealed to human beings. 

They are inscribed in all holy books and they are inscribed within the Great Pyramid of learning. They are known in certain circles as human virtues and they constitute the foundation of the Spiritual Human Being. Any person therefore who may be in a position of leadership and who is imbued with the knowledge of these human virtues, is capable of exercising spiritual leadership in the service of humanity.

The challenges of spiritual leadership are numerous and multifaceted. Life is full of tests, trials, temptations and tribulations. Therefore, we must train ourselves to raise our consciousness to a level where some degree of self discipline or self mastery is obvious enough for one to function effectively as a leader; be such spiritual leadership at the level of the home, the work-place, the community, the larger society, or the polity at the local government, state, national and/or international levels.

Certainly then, there is a hierarchy of spiritual leadership, and at any level, you must be seen as leading yourself properly before you can expect others to acknowledge or accept your leadership. As the saying goes: “he who wants to be a good leader must first of all be a good follower“. This followership is basically that of following the dictates of conscience or the inner self.

Conscience is the eye of God in the heart of man which sees everything. Conscience projects the still small voice that admonishes us. The more we adhere to the dictates of conscience, the more it becomes a louder voice of direction in the manner we conduct our personal affairs as well as group affairs in the arena of spiritual leadership.

For centuries, Rosicrucians have philosophized about the Pyramid of Ideals, and on a regular basis we celebrate these virtues which conscience as our spiritual barometer and compass embraces as guideposts for rising up to the challenge of spiritual leadership. The practice of any or most of these virtues means acceptance of responsibility for leadership at mundane, intellectual or spiritual levels. This is because exemplary leadership or leadership by example is the most pragmatic and efficient way of transcending the challenges of spiritual leadership.

The virtues we talk about are those of truth, tolerance, temperance, justice, honor, fortitude, obedience, honesty, patience, morality, chastity, duty and love.

  • Truth

Refers to the truth which is buried within each individual’s soul and which he or she can dig up with some effort in studying himself or the universe within which he lives.


Refers to the tolerance which the Creator Himself manifested when he sent out hosts of helpers to assist the human being on the path of return when the human being was the one that willfully drew the veil of obscurity upon his own divine attributes to become very gross. This tolerance is the one to be adopted towards the myriads of shades of opinion in this darkened world.


The temperance which keeps the human being’s head unclouded and which enables him to reason through all situations with dignified calmness. The justice that every individual senses from within himself or herself. The justice which if dispensed, gladdens the heart.


The honor within which a just leader usually basks is the honor which gently compels them rule fairly


This world is full of problems; these problems may not be swept under the carpet without major consequences. Yet, solutions to them do not come easy. In addition to all else, fortitude which is the inner strength which keeps the warrior on his feet till the war is won is a required weapon in the war of life.


It is this virtue which is said to be better than primitive sacrifice. It suggests that while the son of man is going through life, there are always beings near at hand to offer infallible advice on how the steps should be taken. Heeding such pieces of advice have been found to be quite beneficial. Disobeying them has equally brought its own load of sorrows. Obedience to the inner self – the still small voice of conscience means leading from the inner direction.


Is the art of acting as the inner self directs; it is a wax that tends to glow one’s inner and outer lights.


Patience is a measure of our faith in what we think we know. If everything seems to be falling all around us, human beings’ surest succor is to carry out whatever positive acts he knows and to wait for the results in faith.


Is a precept which takes into consideration the primordial feelings of all other human beings; it directs the individual’s actions in a way as to preserve the health of the common root from whence humanity issued.


To be chaste is to show courage in maintaining purity around all that the Creator may have put under the jurisdiction of the individual (both physical and non physical).


Is that virtue which a person sees as obligatory to uphold not because it is imposed from the exterior but because the individual has been judged to be right and virtuous.


It is that virtue that binds together the whole creation. Yet, it is one virtue which all individuals are still learning to attain.

Photo by Markus Spiske

Among human beings, it is not easy to find many who possess all of these virtues; however, a number of human beings are known to be making deliberate sincere efforts, incarnation after incarnation to acquire these virtues and to apply them to their own lives and to the environment within which they live. Where a leader deliberately adopts these virtues as a guide, such a leader will be availing his followers with spiritual leadership and this type of spiritual leadership cannot but attract other natural manifestations among which would be found peace, stability and progress.

Leadership is an important aspect of social organization and human life. It is an intricate phenomenon which if it must be successful needs to be anchored in spirituality.

The Challenge Of Spiritual Leadership

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