Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The World and Why It Is As It Is

As all religious people should know, though not all behave as though they do, this world is important not for itself but as a place for growing souls. That is to say, it is designed for the building, developing and testing of human beings so that they may become fully fledged sons and daughters of God, able to function in the heavenly worlds in the fullness of love and creativity. This doesn't mean it and the things in it are not real but they are not permanent, not as they appear to be here anyway. The fact that this world is not its own justification has led some to think of it as illusion but the only illusion is to take it on its own terms. The world is real enough but it is not as it seems.

The fact that the world is an environment for spiritual growth explains much about it that puzzles us, both materialists who cannot see any sign of a divine maker, and spiritually oriented people who wonder why a divine maker would allow evil, suffering, injustice and the full panoply of  negative unpleasantnesses that are so much a part of our experience. However, these test and challenge us. They bring out (or don't but could) inchoate qualities. A perfect world, such as we may assume heaven to be, would be a world in which growth, or the sort of growth we need as we are now, would not be possible. To grow a muscle you need to encounter physical resistance. To grow a soul you need to encounter spiritual resistance which is evil.

That does not mean evil is God's will, at least not evil as we currently experience it. Temporary separation from God is God's will, the separation that eventually brings about a conscious return, but evil as we know it is a spiritual aberration which can be used by God to further his purposes but was not created by God directly. It's the result of wrong choices made by beings to whom the freedom to make wrong choices so that they can consciously make right ones, as opposed to not having any other alternative, has been given.

God hides from us in this world so that we have to find him. Truth to tell, he often hides in plain sight but he is not a fact of consciousness. "Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened" is in one sense blindingly obvious but in another it is profound wisdom. You don't find straightaway but if you persevere, thus proving the genuineness of your search and that it comes from deep within as it must if it is a search made by your whole being, then you will surely find or find enough to help you continue your search.

There is no lasting happiness in this world because there is not meant to be. If we were content with what we have we would cease to grow and so waste our lifetime. But there is also no lasting happiness here because the only thing that can really fill the spiritual hole in our heart, that can fulfil our deepest desire, is God. Nothing else lasts because nothing else is eternal. Nothing else has no limit to it. In God there is always more. He can never be exhausted.

The materialist denies God because he cannot see him but he cannot see him because he is not looking properly or with the proper organ of perception. That would be faith and imagination which in the higher aspect of these two apparently separate things is one thing. Where faith and imagination join there is truth. Faith without imagination is dry and sterile, spiritually speaking. Imagination without faith may be creative after a fashion but it is destructively so. Its products do not enhance and enrich life. They do not add to it and end up corrupting it.

Some spiritually inclined people are troubled by the darkness in the world, wondering why God would, if he is not directly responsible for it, allow it. They confuse the human self as it is in this world with the soul as it exists in the spiritual realm. The human self is an aspect of the soul but it is not the whole of it, being the portion sent to this world precisely to experience this darkness and learn to deal with it. We are not meant to be happy in this world. That doesn't mean we should never experience happiness but we should not cling to it or demand it and nor should we assume that things  that do make us happy are all necessarily good. Some are, some are not. We must our judgement to discern which is which. All this is part of the learning process.

Suffering is part of life. We can moan about it, we can seek to escape it by seeking to escape that which suffers (the Buddhist approach) or we can adopt the approach demonstrated and taught by Jesus which is to accept it when it cannot be avoided (not my will but thine be done) and then refine the experience gained to develop a deeper insight into life. The face of a true spiritual person is the face of one who has suffered and allowed that suffering to work its purifying effect on the ego by giving himself over to it without resistance. This is a delicate matter. Suffering is not good but it can bring about good. This is one of the mysteries of Christianity and why turning to God does not automatically entail happiness or happiness as the world judges it.

The world is the most marvellous creation because it fulfils its function of a spiritual training ground to perfection. Yes, this world is perfect! Not perfect as in supremely good but perfect as in ideal for its purpose. The imperfection of this world points to the perfection of God.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Tolerance is a Vice

I would not be writing this in a world in which people really did condemn others who were not exactly the same as themselves. But in today's world tolerance has indeed become a vice. When it means you allow all sorts of aberrant behaviour and equate the sinful with the virtuous or the bad with the good, it descends into lack of discrimination and lowered standards. Then it is a sign not of a humane society but a corrupted one in which culture and civilisation are declining from an enlightened state to a barbarous one. This is where we are now.

There is no true civilisation which is not based on an awareness of the spiritual. This may be expressed in many different ways but in all of them the transcendent is regarded as an absolute good and the model on which life on Earth should be patterned. There is a recognition that we are natural beings but also spiritual ones and the natural, without being denied, should always conform to the spiritual. This necessarily creates hierarchy and all true civilisations are indeed hierarchical though with the proviso that all parts of the hierarchy are respected and the higher exists to serve the whole not itself. An analogy with the human body is frequently used.

So much trouble comes from the misuse of words and of not defining them correctly. Tolerance can mean putting up with something that you feel to be annoying or it can mean allowing something that is objectively wrong, but these are two quite different things. Annoying is just a personal matter. Wrong is universal. I can be tolerant of a baby crying in my train carriage but not tolerant of someone hitting the baby. Even liberals would acknowledge that but when it comes to behaviour that conflicts with the pattern of heaven, they are not so observant. This is because they do not acknowledge a pattern of heaven but that is a deficit within themselves. It's not because, as they might claim, religious belief is a personal matter that should not be imposed on others. Every society imposes beliefs of some sort. Modern liberals certainly do or try to. But an awareness of the spiritual is within each human soul unless that awareness is crushed by the outer world and the ideologies it might impose on the soul. But even then the soul has its own freedom and a soul true to its inner nature should still acknowledge the reality and supremacy of the spiritual. God exists within each one of us. We may choose not to acknowledge him because he doesn't force himself, but he is there.

Any single virtue if emphasised to the exclusion of other virtues becomes a vice. If it is given disproportionate attention it tips over from being a good to a bad thing. This is easy to see when courage becomes foolhardiness or prudence cowardice. Chastity can become cold sterility, patience can become inertia, kindness weakness and so on. In our day tolerance has become an excuse for laxness and the disregard of spiritual truth to pander to human feelings. This is a sure sign of a corrupt society, one that seeks pleasure and to avoid pain of any sort. Earthly pain is always regarded as an evil instead of being a sign that we are in this world to learn to overcome our attachments to the lower self and its desires.

It is often instructive to seek out the root meaning of words. Tolerance comes from a Latin word meaning to endure, specifically pain or hardship. Hence it means to put up with without complaint. But to go from that to accepting what is wrong in the name of an all things are equally valid ideology or believing that the existence of something is its own justification is a complete deformation of meaning. Here is yet another example of how when you remove the over-arching yardstick of a spiritual absolute nothing means anything.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Unconditional Love

Here's a question. If God loves everything unconditionally, does he love evil?

Obviously not. God loves something because it is. Existence is good. It comes from him and it is him. But a creature's free will can deform that goodness into evil. God still loves the creature for the goodness that is inherent in the fact of its existence but he does not love the form in which it has chosen to express itself, and the more it identifies with that form the more it separates itself from him. God's love is always there but it has been rejected and that rejection is fundamentally an act of hatred. God does not love hatred. How can you love hatred since hatred is the denial of love? How can you love evil since evil is the rejection of good and love is the recognition of good? God is not beyond good and evil as the popular fallacy has it it. In God there is only good. Evil is the refusal of God. It is the shadow cast by good in a world in which good must be consciously chosen.

Does God love a saint more than a sinner? Yes he does for he only loves the good and in the saint there is both existential good and expressed good while in the sinner there is only the former.  God still loves the sinner because of his existential good but while the saint is shining God's light back to him, the sinner has put up a dark barrier that kills that light  The saint reflects God but the sinner rejects him. God does not love sin because it is the denial of his own reality which is truth but he loves the sinner which is why he sent his Son to the world.  If he loved the sinner for himself qua sinner, as he loves the saint for himself, he would not have needed to do this. Christ would not have been necessary. But Christ was necessary. Christ shows that God does not love evil. He only loves the good.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Empathy is Not Love

We live in a very empathetic age. Or rather an age in which empathy is regarded as a most desirable characteristic which is not quite the same thing. This leads me to ask, what is empathy? Is it the mark of an evolved human being or perhaps something else?

None of what I say here should be taken as implying that empathy is not, in the main, a good thing. To be able to think of others is clearly the sign of a civilised person. Nevertheless, I would suggest it is not always an unqualified good thing. It is not to be admired under all circumstances. In fact, too much empathy or misdirected empathy can be not only foolish but positively harmful.

Is empathy really about caring for others or is there something in it of an automatic response to the herd instinct of a social animal? Lack of empathy shows selfishness but some people do like to cosset their feelings and to feel good about themselves. Empathy in the modern world often seems to be as much about the empathiser as the empathised

Empathy is associated more with the feminine mentality than the masculine. The Western world has become increasingly feminised over the last few decades and this is inevitably leading to civilisational decline. If you don't believe that then study history. It is unlikely to be arrested as it is part of cyclical movement associated with the end of an age but we should still understand processes at work so we are not swept up by them and can remain aloof inwardly.

One reason for the decline alluded to is that the feminine approach favours empathy over truth and soft feelings over hard reality.  It portrays what it thinks should be as what is and prefers the nice to the real.  Now, it is certain that truth needs to be balanced by empathy (which I am not calling love because it isn't love) but truth must be the dominating principle. If truth is given a subsidiary position, or even sacrificed altogether as it tends to be now, we become separated from reality and the inevitable result is decline and disorder.

When a civilisation has been built up by male energy and creativity to a certain level of accomplishment there is then enough of a surplus or 'fat' in the system to allow women to escape their previous roles of wives and mothers and start to become more active members of the society. This might have individual benefits (though maybe not from a spiritual point of view) but it does not benefit the civilisation over the long run which becomes unbalanced in the sense that it loses a grounding in reality, reality requiring a harmonious interaction between masculine and feminine each fulfilling its proper role, a role indicated both by biology and spiritual insight for the two are both grounded in the same ultimate reality of God. The society will become more empathetic and lose the firm strength it requires to preserve itself from inner decay and outer attack. In this sense, empathy is actually destructive. If it favours the short term and immediate to the deeper view then it is little more than a form of self-indulgence.

Empathy is a form of love but it is an immature form. It needs to develop into something that is rooted in an awareness of God and a recognition of his will for human beings. It is really just the secular version of a spiritual quality and, as such, can actually get in the way of deeper feeling if not outgrown.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Genetic Engineering

I watched a television programme over the weekend about CRISPR, the gene editing process which allows for the modification of DNA, in other words genetic engineering. The science is extraordinary even if, like many technical breakthroughs, it seems to be based on the exploitation of something that occurs in nature, in this case the immune system of certain single-celled organisms.

The programme raised the inevitable ethical problems of tampering with nature, bringing in the usual idea of how human beings are playing at being God. This is emotive language but there is something in it. However, it could be countered that we have been playing God for millennia. Since, at least, the dawn of agriculture. We have developed certain crops, improved fruits and vegetables by selective breeding, domesticated wild animals and actually created types that suit us. We have already altered nature and moved from cooperating with her to exploiting her. So there is nothing new in the idea of tampering with nature.

The question is how far should we go? Is there a limit beyond which we should not pass? Genetic engineering would be tampering with nature at a much more fundamental level than heretofore.  We don't know what the consequences would be. Those in favour of the process cite how diseases can be cured, genetic problems corrected before a child is born and even how parents could select for an ideal child who would still be their genetic offspring just the very best combinations of their genes. They predict a bright future with a new and improved humanity and see this as just a further development of what we are already doing. With vaccines, for example, or even with a better diet. Those against worry about what we might be doing without realising it and what the potential side effects could be. They also express concern of a potential increased separation between a high caste rich who can afford these interventions and a sizeable chunk of humanity who might not be able to and who would therefore be relegated to an underclass.

What struck me is that even though the playing God phrase was used the whole debate was framed in materialistic terms. It was assumed that we basically are our genes. Everything about us from our physical appearance to our degree of intelligence and capacity for creativity and even love is genetic. I don't doubt that the genes do determine these things to a great degree but a spiritual person, someone who believes that the soul exists prior to the body and actually uses the body (including brain) as a vehicle of expression, must surely question this assumption. Are we really just our genes or is there something behind these that lies at the root of what we really are? Do the genes we inherit in life reflect something of our pre-existing capacity to use them? Such a person might also point out that if we are on this Earth to learn then maybe some of the things we think of as bad or limited might be actually there to help us do that.

There are religious sects that refuse the use of even ordinary medicine. This is clearly extreme. I remember the Masters telling me years ago that doctors are there for using. God sends us or allows us to discover means to make life in this world more tolerable. He may use suffering but he does not endorse suffering per se. Moreover, we are supposed to be co-creators with God. That is our right and our role. Again, though, the question is how far do we go? What is within the bounds of spiritual permissibility and what is beyond it? This is something none of us can know and each person has to use his intuition in the matter. It may even vary from individual to individual. I, for instance, would not want an organ transplant - though we shall see if it ever comes to it. But I intuitively feel that such an intervention is anti-spiritual and a refusal to accept God's will. However, if someone asked me what the difference was between that and an operation for appendicitis, which I have had, I would be hard-pressed to give a satisfactory answer. Similarly if asked why I consider it is acceptable to use medicine in certain areas but not in others. Sometimes the answers to deep questions cannot just be reeled off pat.

In the end the ethical discussions are probably academic. There are very few cases in which humanity has a technology and doesn't use it. If we have discovered how to alter the genome then that is what we will do. Maybe, just maybe, that is what God intends us to do though I have my doubts on that score. This strikes me as a technology somewhat similar in its moral dimensions to nuclear weapons. It is peering into the heart of life, physical life that is. If I had to decide I would basis my decision on our degree of spiritual maturity and by that criterion the answer would surely be no. This is not a path we should explore at the moment.

Nature is not separate from Man. We are part of Nature and a part that is able to influence Nature. That is the benefit of self-consciousness. However the crucial point is a religious one. We are intended to be co-creators with God but our creations should be in line with God's will and his laws. They should further his purpose which is to make humans fully aware sons and daughters of God. Would genetic engineering as it would be practised at our current state of understanding contribute to that or would it work against it? The answer to that question will determine its justification or otherwise.

 A final point I would make is that in the spiritual scheme of things internal causes are meant to produce external effects. Life works from inner to outer. Mind precedes matter. With genetic engineering the potential is there for the opposite to take place. The outer could be altered to affect the inner. But if we do this might we not be separating ourselves even more from God than is the case at present? This is not something to be taken lightly.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Heavenly Families

Bruce Charlton wrote an interesting piece recently setting out the implications of the idea of God being our Father. See here. He says "we should see Heaven as a family (an ideal ideally-extended family, of many related families) - not an organisation".  I think he is right and would like to offer as support to this idea something from my own experience with the Masters. This is not an experience of heaven but I would maintain it is an experience with heavenly beings who behave in the way that is that of the heavenly world.

From the very beginning of my conversations with the Masters they would address me as 'my child', and that was how it always was right up to the end. In the same way, they spoke of Michael, their medium, as either 'our brother' or 'your brother'. They never called him Michael and they never called me William And I felt of them as though they were something akin to spiritual parents. It would seem strange to have many fathers so the parallel is not exact but they were part of a group which was an extended family and within that group there were souls at many levels of seniority. So it was like a family with older and younger members, bound together by love but also with a certain sense of authority. 

Based on this experience, and also my own personal feelings on the matter, I envisage beings in the spiritual world as made up of group souls which are part of other group souls which are part of others and so on, eventually extending to the whole of heaven. It is families that are ultimately all part of the one family under God. The Masters spoke of themselves as brothers and always gave the impression of a universal family not an organisation or occult bureaucracy as in the idea given by some esoteric societies who talk of functions and positions among the spiritual hierarchy as though it were a company with directors, accountants, secretaries and the like, all with official titles and roles in the organisation. No doubt roles are assigned and specialities represented but the essential truth is that heaven is made up of loving families which surely chimes in with our deepest feelings of what is right and proper. 

Families are joined together by blood except, of course, husband and wife who are joined by love. But, esoterically considered, husband and wife are two halves of one whole, sundered from unconscious oneness so that they might rejoin in conscious wholeness. What might be the spiritual equivalent of blood? That depends on how souls are created and to understand this we have to look into the idea of spirit and what it might be. I suppose the closest thing we can compare it to in our experience is light so could spiritual bloodlines be 'lightlines'? Esotericists talk of rays as streams of qualitative activity emanating from God. These might also be streams of life with souls created according to the nature of a particular stream. So a spiritual family would be a particular ray of God expressing itself through a myriad of beings.

Be all that as it may, there is no doubt in my mind that heaven is made up of spiritual families. We are all one in Christ but that is, as it were, the super family. Within that super family there are countless extended families of souls with members at all sorts of different spiritual ages. What a wonderful thought! Something that often doesn't work out as it should down here is based on a reality which is perfect.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Feminism and Mystery

I write about feminism on this blog quite often because I see it as one of the great spiritual disasters of the modern era, designed to attack humanity at its roots and reframe both men and women according to a materialistic agenda. Men and women are, and are meant to be, different and that difference is fundamental to the proper functioning of human society. It reflects the primal division of God and Nature which is echoed in the Christian idea of Christ as bridegroom and the Church as bride, and is the basis of expressed reality or creation. To attack that difference is to attack humanity and God who is the author of humanity.

The true nature of male and female and their complementary roles is something that goes down to a much deeper level of being than unaided reason can discern, though unprejudiced reason can easily find support for what is known at an instinctive or intuitive level. This is the level of first principles, things that just are and about which there can be no debate because what is, is. The reason that feminism has been able to make such inroads is because humanity is currently in a betwixt and between stage. It has grown out of instinct but not yet grown into intuition. Consequently, it is stuck in a stage in which it relies on the intellectual/rational mind which is the stage when people are most separate from life and depend on their own mental resources to find their way. Those who are still living largely in instinct will automatically know the truth in this and other matters while those who have grown into the spiritual intuition will consciously know the truth.

But there are other factors too among which are egotism and resentment. For when the mind is under the sway of these, usually unacknowledged, ills, it will seek reasons to justify them. The unbalanced egotists behind feminism were actually pursuing simple self-advancement dressed up as equality. And modern women who identify as feminists are often doing what women (much more than men) do which is follow the status quo. The men who go along with the programme either do so for traditional reasons of deference or else out of an abdication of male leadership responsibility or else a misplaced sense of fairness. Or a combination of all of these.

Feminism is a spiritual evil. This is not because it offers women a degree of personal autonomy but because it separates her from the mystery of her deeper being. It thereby also cuts men off from that same mystery which they are often only able to perceive through her. But feminism makes a woman into an imitation man, in the process depriving her of her femininity. Of course, it can't really turn women into men but it does enough to deny them access to their true selves which was the intention. This was all part of the plan to isolate human beings in the material world and sever them from the spiritual.

Feminine nature when true to itself is oriented to a mystery beyond reason and pragmatism. This is not a romanticised male view of women. It is a simple fact. Something of this capacity should exist within all women but often it is undeveloped or tarnished by emotional reaction. Nevertheless, this is the basic truth at the core of the feminine mind. The masculine mind tends to go outwards and express itself actively. The feminine mind goes inwards and expresses itself through being rather than doing. We all have elements of both within ourselves but a woman's masculinity should always express itself within the fuller and dominating context of femininity, and vice versa.

How can we define this mystery? We can't. That's why it's a mystery. But we can say it is a spiritual quality that opens those who know it up to deeper truths than are available to the everyday mind. That is why things such as night, the moon and the sea are universally regarded as feminine. They contain mysteries. They don't show themselves openly and reveal everything clearly. Their truths are elusive but profound, and they feed the soul.

Mystery hides behind a veil. It has secrets. It is not for all to plumb its depths. Indeed, its depths can never be plumbed. This is a truth that lies at the core of mystery and makes it what it is. But something of it can be known, and its power is what lies behind creation. Mystery is, in this sense, the chaos, meaning formless potential rather than disorder, that is the fundamental material of creation, the stuff from which all things are made (cf. Jesus, through whom all things were made).

The book of Genesis is an important spiritual document in which profound wisdom is revealed in a simple, almost fairytale manner. It presents man and woman as both made in the image of God but with different roles. Adam was created first but given a companion or helper to whom he was bound in love but who also he was intended to lead. That was his responsibility. Eve's role was to be a support to Adam, to do which effectively she was to be his spiritual equal. But the creation order was man then woman and that order was intended to be reflected in the natural order of being. There was to be a hierarchy. A hierarchy grounded in love but a hierarchy all the same. It is man and woman, husband and wife not the other way round. In love there is not superiority or inferiority but there is difference with each completing the other. If one half seeks to appropriate the ways of the other there is no completion and that means there can be no love in the fuller sense. Feminism has attacked the natural order of being and destroyed love. You might say that the natural order had not been functioning as it should but you don't correct that by seeking to dismantle, or even reverse, the order.

Women who propagate feminism are the enemies of truth. They are on the side of the forces ranged against the good, against God in fact. This might be a hard saying for modern women to accept but that is because they have allowed their minds to be corrupted by forces who do not wish their spiritual good. Feminists might claim they are working for equality but what they are really working for is female power and what motivates them is ego. And here's the thing. Power is the province of the male. The female equivalent would perhaps be influence. But power is a male thing. So for the female to seek it is an aberration and history confirms that when women do gain political power a culture starts to self-destruct. That's because women have no real interest in building or maintaining a civilisation and will seek to bring down the boundaries and safeguards that preserve that civilisation from outside attacks. In their eyes this is because of an unselfish humanitarianism or a wish to be 'fair' (for which read undiscriminating) but really it is because they are not programmed to defend the tribe so will respond to problems on an emotional rather than an intellectual level. Civilisations are formed by masculine energy and vision. Metaphorically speaking, they must be hewed out of rock. They are built through hard struggle and can only be preserved through hard struggle and the separation of higher and lower elements  When qualitative standards are reduced to be 'fair', meaning equal rather than just, decline rapidly sets in. All things break down and return to chaos unless one works to sustain them.

The feminine softens, balances and humanises the masculine. It keeps it from the destructiveness that is the other side of creativeness. But the creative impulse is masculine while the feminine is that which inspires creativity and when a culture no longer recognises this it will die. Feminine mystery is one of the chief causes of male creativity. When women turn away from this deeper aspect of their being, men lose a major part of their inspiration and their works turn more readily to evil.

I don't blame women for feminism. Given the male rejection of God it was inevitable. It is largely men who have created the conditions for this sickness of the modern mind.