Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Modern Satanism

It seems that a minority of people are waking up to the growing insanities of the last 50 years and they are partly doing so because of the coronavirus lockdown which is starting to be seen as potentially destroying more lives than it saves, certainly in the long term. Politicians and journalists have long been distrusted but now scientists are also being viewed as flawed know-nothings in hock to corporate cash and ideology. Religious leaders are largely just functionaries and most artists are frauds. This is a growing perception.


Over the weekend I read this comment on a newspaper blog. I've edited it a bit for grammatical sake but only very slightly. "In acting the way it has, I believe the state has proved that none of the destruction of the country over recent decades has been an accident. Malign forces have brought about every increase in uncontrolled immigration, every attack on our culture and identity, every weakening of our justice system and police. It is inconceivable that any of this is some sort of accident or natural evolution of lessening ability in the people occupying parliament (though many of them are unqualified to be there). The nation and its people remain a definite identifiable thing but it has been deconstructed demographically and culturally, and now been terrified and propagandised into a crisis that will take a long time to get over if indeed we ever do. The English have had their freedom stolen and the BBC and government smile while they are doing it."

I don't know what the commenter meant by malign forces, whether he was referring to some kind of earthly movement with an agenda of eroding the values of Western civilisation so it could grab power or something beyond that. If the former, I would say he is wrong but if the latter then he has summed the situation up well.


There is no earthly conspiracy masterminded by some Illuminati group or, if there is, they don't have that much power and are not the real source of the destruction of the West. (The East too but that will follow the West.) On the other hand, there is a spiritual conspiracy orchestrated from a place beyond the physical world and the beings involved use any such groups for their own purposes. These groups would be discarded and sacrificed once they have served those purposes. Thus, the global lockdowns were not cooked up in some secret hideout by politicians, bankers and such like intent on a political takeover but by demons working for the spiritual destruction of human beings. This is why governments could seemingly almost stumble into them, obviously with no real plan except self-preservation and the desire to be seen to be doing the right thing. It's why so many factors, virus, media frenzy, 'the science', a culturally decadent population and so on all came together in the way they did to bring about a particular result.


This may sound sensationalist but it has been the common religious understanding for a very long time, and the fact of demonic attack on the human soul has only been lost sight of over the last couple of centuries as the devil faded from public view, the more effectively to carry out his designs. He has done this so well that most people are satanists now.


That is a serious accusation and I will need to back it up. This is what I mean. Most people are obviously not Satanists in the traditional sense of black masses, devil worship etc, but what was the thing that made Lucifer become Satan? It was the denial of God and the desire to become independent of him, maybe even greater than him, not responsible to him at all. Is this not the majority position now? We may not practise traditionally Satanic rites but we do live lives in which God has no place. He is not just kicked out from the centre where he should be. He is barely acknowledged at all other than in a most perfunctory and more or less meaningless way. The essence of Satanism is not in doing evil things but in denying God and that is the principal evil of the present day. Naturally, from the denial of God many other things proceed, actions and thoughts, modes of behaviour, ideologies and beliefs that embed that denial deeper into consciousness and cause a greater separation between a person who holds to this way of life and that person's spiritual source.


Most people do not actively pursue obviously evil ways. After all, and not meaning to be facetious, that does require quite a bit of effort. But two things make us satanists (let us give it a small 's' to differentiate it from its usual meaning). These are the alienation from God and the growing self-centredness. Oh yes, we are constantly enjoined to think of others and be kind but this is meaningless really given the fact that our sense of self is magnified and we no longer look beyond ourselves for the true reality of what we are. We can either look for our true being in God or we can find it in self. It is this latter which makes so many people of the present day satanists.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Asceticism

Asceticism is founded on the idea that you can get closer to spirit by detaching yourself from matter other than what is strictly necessary to maintain life in the physical body. It has a long history and appears in most religions in various forms ranging from fasting to celibacy and other physical privations up to and including deliberately inflicting pain on oneself. I once met a man in India who had remained standing for several years. He lived in the forest with a couple of disciples and neither sat nor lay down though he had a simple wooden bar to lean on. There is also the famous Jain statue at Sravana Belagola which depicts a naked man standing upright in deep meditation who has been in that position so long that vines have grown up around his legs. Obviously that is a fantasy but it depicts an attitude of great ascetic self-control, endured in the attempt to gain spiritual mastery. In India these austerities are called tapas which is a word with the root meaning of heat or fire and implies that such an activity burns away all the material dross in the aspirant's lower nature leaving just the shining spiritual core behind.

There may have been a place for such things at one time. In a world before a developed mental focus arose, complete mastery of the body might have been a major part of spiritual development. However, the antiquity of these practises indicates that that period was a long time ago. Even the Buddha renounced extreme asceticism, and it is notable that Jesus was not an ascetic and nor did he require his disciples to be such. That does not mean that there is no need to subdue the physical side of being. There most assuredly is but its place is not paramount. The body is part of the totality of what we are but it is a part that should be under the rulership of the higher parts, higher because they are more conscious, freer and closer to the essential nature of what we are.

God looked at the world and saw that it was good. This tells us that extreme asceticism is not good because it denies the virtue in creation. On the other hand, it is a fallen world and we must overcome the fallen part of our own nature in order to become properly responsive to spirit. The lower must be dominated so that the higher can make itself known to the fullest extent. This is the basis of asceticism but the ascetic should not deny or try to kill the lower. This is the mistake of the gnostic who sees matter as evil thus failing to realise that it is not matter which is evil but materialistic consciousness. To see matter as evil is to destroy creativity and love, and a spirituality without creativity and love is a desiccated sort of thing which may bestow a kind of psychic power, as tapas was traditionally thought to do, but will do so at the expense of a deeper, truer and richer spiritual understanding.

The balance between the ascetic and the physical has in the past not always been found. Apart from the severe self-mortifications of certain mystics there have been sects that have gone the other way and decided that since everything is holy we have been given the green light to do whatever we want which includes sexual over-indulgence. That is wishful thinking at best and downright stupid however you look at it. The body has its place but should always be seen in the light of the soul to which it must be sublimated. Everything may be holy but there is a hierarchy. To allow physical instincts to override spiritual focus in this way is the result of an unbalanced and corrupted imagination and will lead to spiritual disease. Matter may be the means through which creation is expressed but unless it is submissive and open to spirit, as was the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is not holy.

Even now there may be certain periods in a disciple's life when asceticism is required. However, such an approach is not generally demanded any more than long periods of meditation are necessary. These may even be harmful and assuredly will be if they lead to spiritual isolationism and pride. Nonetheless, if the material side of one's being should not be seen as an enemy to be totally beaten and crushed, it should still be tamed and brought under conscious control to the point where it is a more or less pure vessel for the soul. This, of course, is its natural state and has only become otherwise because of our disordered way of being. Asceticism is like a medicine needed to cure a sickness. A spiritually healthy person requires no such medicine and will automatically respond to the body in a spiritually healthy way with neither indulgence nor disdain.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Death

Death is the meaning of life. At least, properly understood it is. Misunderstood, it shows the meaninglessness of life, being the return of existence to non-existence which makes existence more or less pointless. But seen as the moment at which material life returns to spiritual it puts earthly life into perspective, giving it purpose. Imagine life without death. That really would be terrifying in its banality even if it included eternal youth.

At one time early on in my spiritual journey I read some of the spiritualist literature. While interesting and optimistic about the afterlife it was always slightly unsatisfactory because so much of the life described seemed too much like the better aspects of this life stripped of pain. I realise this would be what is called Summerlands and that spiritualism posits higher levels of spiritual reality above that but even so there was always an element of the mundane and expected about the whole spiritualist description of the post-mortem world. I am not denigrating it because I do believe it gave something that blind faith didn't to millions at a time when people were reaching out for something more, but it never really presented the next world as much more than a continuation of this one and the people in it as very little different in the fundamentals to how they were here.

Now, this may be the experience of a large section of humanity. They may find themselves in an environment that reflects what they are within, and if they are not particularly spiritually attuned in this life nor will they be in the next. But death in the real spiritual sense must mean something more than just relinquishing the physical body. To take away its deep existential significance, as spiritualism tends to do, is to diminish something that should be of profound relevance to the near trite. If death is tamed and made almost comfortable it will not be the transformative experience it should be.

Modern man has lost sight of the beauty of death. Isn't that a strange word to choose to describe something so often seen as full of terror and horror, something that signifies loss and suffering? Perhaps it is and I am certainly not recommending a "half in love with easeful death" attitude. To seek or wish for death is a spiritual sin because it is an evasion of responsibility. But the beauty of death lies in its transformative power and reward for a job well done. When your work here is over and you have been true to your calling as an incarnated soul then death comes as a release from the trivial mundanities of mortal life and entry into glory. The only people who need fear death (as in be frightened of, we should all have an attitude of humble awe before it as we should before any mystery) are those, unfortunately numerous now, who deny life because life is far more than worldly, material things and death, rightly considered, is the doorway to greater life.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Decline and Fall

In the world of print media, newspapers, magazines and the like, circulation has been steadily falling for around 20 years, more or less since the turn of the millennium in fact. The reason is obvious. Computers and the internet. Whenever figures come out they are always down from the previous year. Year on year - x%, year after year. It's a case of managed decline.

There is a parallel with the world. If some authority were able to produce figures on the spiritual state of humanity this too would show a steady decline. And if you compared, say, 40 years ago with today the difference would be marked as many older people would be sure to tell you. This is even taking into account the human tendency always to see deterioration from the good old days when they were younger, life was new, the mind was fresh, hope was buoyant and they had fewer aches, pains and emotional scars.

Of course, many others, probably many more, at least before the coronavirus scare, would tell you that things were getting better but what is their yardstick? To the spiritual eye, it is totally materialistic. We have more and better technology but that separates us from our natural selves. We have greater physical comfort and wealth but remember what Jesus said about the rich. We have a fairer society but what if fair in this sense just meant a quantitative levelling out at the expense of quality? The real point is our disconnect from God is greater than at any time ever. And as we lose connection to God so we lose connection to our real selves and identify with false aspects of our being, seeing the lower, which has its place in the totality of what we are, as either higher or all there is. We are contracting and shutting out the light.

This is what happens at the end of an age. Matter becomes more dense so that the spiritual world is increasingly obscured. Can you not feel that the quality of consciousness is becoming more self-enclosed? If you could weigh it, it would be heavier. If you could see it, it would be darker. How should we react to this?  By accepting it as real and going along with life as it now appears to be? Or by holding fast to the truth within, to our inner knowledge of the reality of God which may be obscured but is not obliterated by this thickening of the psychic atmosphere?

Clearly, the latter. This is the test of the present time. Who succumbs to the darkness and who resists it. The world is once again killing God as it did 2,000 years ago but he will rise again in the human heart though only in those hearts who have left a space for him. The virus is part of the test. We can give in to the fear that it engenders and which most of the media are doing their best to spread or we can adopt a more mature attitude towards it, taking precautions where necessary but not allowing it to dominate our minds or overwhelm our faith in God. It is part of living in a fallen world but we have always lived in such a world. Sin and death are always there, try as we might to deny them, and the remedy to them is the same as it always has been. Turn to God with a humble heart.

The spiritual darkness will increase. That is an inevitable part of the process of an age coming to its natural end. The quality of human civilisations will continue to decline. Evil, spiritual evil, will spread. But, unpleasant as this is to live through, it should not alarm us unduly. We are privileged to be living at a time when God is giving those who hear his voice a great opportunity to make strides forward in their spiritual growth. All we really have to do is see through the lies of the world and lift our minds above its darkness to the clear vision of the holy heights.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

God is not the Absolute

I have made the mistake of equating God and the Absolute in the past when I was under the misapprehension that all spiritual approaches said fundamentally the same thing and differences were largely down to expression. And that the mystics of all ages pointed to the same reality. I have also believed that the intellectual idea of the Absolute described something real. But I don't believe this anymore and, if truth be told, probably never really did, the confusion being more on a mental plane than a spiritual one.

What I mean is that God is not an abstraction but the most concrete in the sense of most real thing there is. The concept of the Absolute is the product of abstract speculation and is, in the striking words of Pascal, the god of the philosophers not of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Absolute is being absorbed into non-being. It is thought taken to its limits and then, unable to go any further, postulating a theoretical void or emptiness beyond itself. It makes no difference if you call this a plenum-void as something is effectively swallowed up in nothing. The Absolute is the result of a mode of cognition restricted to form trying to conceive of what lies beyond itself and coming up with something like dimensionless space, existence without being.

But God is not like that. The Absolute is existence as theory. God is existence as reality. He cannot be objectified as a thing. That is obviously true or he would be part of creation. He is not some thing. But he is not nothing either or even no-thing. He is the eternal Subject, the Great I AM, and note that in this statement the I comes before the AM. Person comes before being. There is no being without a Person to be. Abstract pure existence is a fantasy of the philosophers.

There may be no such thing as the absolute in the philosophical or even metaphysical sense but there is depth and there is mystery. Mystery is what exists beyond the limitations of the world as it is bound by space, time and form as normally conceived. It is the ground of freedom which is the essence of God and which he bestows on us in the form of our individuality. Mystery is also the source of creativity which is God expressing himself in love. Love, creativity, freedom, these are real things and the true essence of God. The Absolute is really just an idea.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Evil in the Modern World

Last Friday was VE Day when we commemorated victory by the Allies over Nazi Germany in Europe, an obvious case of good triumphing over evil. However, I find a deep irony in this. In my view, most of the people who celebrated that victory are themselves in their way of life, their beliefs, their actions, their behaviour, completely in thrall to a different kind of evil, one that may be less obvious in its appearance but is possibly even more spiritual corrosive.

It is often asked how the Germans in the 1930s could have been taken in by Nazi propaganda and gone along with its programme. I would ask a similar question. How can so many people now not see the anti-spiritual insanity of the present day? How is it that we do not just accept but often actively celebrate contemporary evil? The answer presumably is we don't recognise it as evil but why is that? It is because we don't know, or don't wish to know, the true purpose of life or what a human being actually is. We don't (or won't) think of ourselves as souls but as material beings whose material needs, desires and goals are primary.

Modern evil is the refusal to recognise truth. It is the rejection of God and his replacement with a worldly ideology that equates good with what leads to mortal happiness and evil with what causes suffering to mind or body. But as most people once knew, certainly most people who framed the pattern of civilisation, good is what leads to the development of the soul and brings Man closer to God and evil is what separates Man from God. By that criterion, we are among the most evil people to have existed anywhere ever.

Think about this for a moment. We imagine ourselves as enlightened, compassionate, caring human beings but in point of fact we have egotistically (and it is the unrepentant ego that is behind this) rejected the reality of what we are. If all good is in God, and it is because God is Truth, and we have abandoned God, that makes us evil. There are no two ways about this and I believe that we know it. We don't accept it but we do know it at a level of our being that we keep suppressed. We know it because God is inside us, every one of us, and speaks to us of his presence if we allow it. If we don't hear his voice that is because we don't want to. I know that many people would say they do want to but can't and I'm afraid all I would say to that is, try harder. I realise it is difficult in this modern world when so much is against it. The whole culture is against it and all the religions are pale shadows of what they once were but let me make two points to support my assertion.

First, it is more and more apparent that a world without God is heading for utter disaster. Everyone recognises this or should. If they don't they are either too young and time should bring understanding or else they are too besotted by shallow worldly pleasures or caught up in political ideologies that pander, in one form or another, to the ego. I'm sorry if that seems extreme or offensive but it's time for straight-talking. People who are ready to understand will understand. Those who are not perhaps need to suffer before their minds are receptive to reality. That is no one's responsibility except their own.

The second reason that we are not left spiritually bereft even in this age of triumphant materialism is that today, more than ever, there are teachings to suit a wide variety of tastes and intellectual proclivities readily available. There are many people writing, talking and so on about the evil of the present times. Most, admittedly, do not have a high public profile but anyone who sincerely wishes to find truth will be directed towards someone who can help them. This someone may just be a stepping stone to something else of greater truth but the point is guidance is there if you search for it.

Evil is subtle and always attacks in ways we least expect and the areas where we are weakest. So my teachers told me and so I have found. The Nazi form of evil is clearly a non-starter in the West nowadays despite sections of the press being obsessed with right-wing extremism.  We are too familiar with it. But the evil that pervades the Western world now presents itself as good and this is the evil we have succumbed to and we have done so because of the evil within ourselves. That is how it always works. Our own shallowness and egotism is reflected in the world we have created which, in turn, feeds back into the shallowness and egotism.

It is the materialist who defines evil in material terms, violence, murder, rape and so on. All these things certainly are evil. That is not being denied. The material world is part of the totality of reality. But it is not the only part. Reality is primarily spiritual and the contemporary attack on the soul is every bit as evil as the evil of the Nazis. It is just evil manifesting in a different sphere, spiritual rather than material. Our refusal to recognise spiritual evil and the hubris that goes along with this is why the Western world is dying. It cannot be saved but that is not important. What is important is individual souls and these can be saved but only if they renounce the world as it is and do what I believe is called in the terminology of mobile phones and other electronic devices, a factory reset in which all or most of the accumulated data is wiped clean and you start afresh. This is repentance or, to use a word I prefer because it signifies something more comprehensive, metanoia, a total change of mind and heart driven by penitence.

The need for metanoia means that a vague, generalised, intellectual kind of spirituality is not the answer. There's plenty of that about but it does not reach to the bottom of the soul and can often by engaged in without the renunciation of worldliness. It's a new suit when we need a new mind. The true religious goal is not to make us happy in this life but to prepare us to enter the next. Too much contemporary spirituality is therapeutic when it should be transformational and this is part of the form evil currently takes in our world.



Thursday, 7 May 2020

Mysticism of Escape

Let's not talk about the coronavirus which, dare I say it, is not important in the greater scheme of things*. Let's talk about more serious matters to do with the reasons for us being here in the first place rather than what may or may not provide the means of exit. Let's talk about that old favourite, the meaning of life.

There is a spiritual approach which seeks to transcend all idea of self, of form and of time and space. Its goal is to rest in complete  'presence', a state in which there is no movement, no change, no anything. This is the spirituality of pure being and is regarded by some as being at the zenith of true knowledge; the finishing point to which all paths must eventually tend.


I see the appeal of such a state for people who have suffered in this world and yearn for peace but I also think there is an element of spiritual escapism in the attitude behind it. Consequently, it is my contention that those who follow it will, after they have experienced a Nirvana-like state for a period, long or short, be impelled by an evolutionary inner urge or drive back into the world of time and space. They will be required to learn all the messy lessons of life they have avoided.

In this type of mysticism a person aims to dissolve his self into the universal sea of life and so be freed from all pain and suffering. Usually it is pursued by those of a contemplative turn of mind who wish to escape the hurly-burly of the created world and who see reality as transcending all form. As it does in its absolute sense but a key teaching of Christianity is that God looked at the world and saw it was good. So a Christian, and really by that I mean anyone who wants to live the life intended by God, does not reject the created world but resolves it by drawing it up into its spiritual origin. The uncreated plus the created is more than just the uncreated alone. Life manifests to become more. What this boils down to in practical terms can be summed up by asking the following question. Is the individual self a transitory thing to be transcended in a higher vision of the One or is it a fundamental reality which, to be sure, does merge into the One but which, when it does, retains its full integrity? Otherwise put, is the purpose of life found in returning to the One and being reabsorbed or is it found in a joyful union of the One and the Many with ceaseless interplay between the two? This interplay is love which can only be known in the latter case though, as a legacy of Christianity which is very much the religion of the latter case, it has been appropriated by devotees of the former, notwithstanding the fact that in their scenario it makes no sense and, indeed, would not even be possible. Love demands the full reality of the person.


Monistic mystics, those who seek to renounce the self completely, are actually looking for a return to the spiritual womb. Might this be, contradictory as it seems, because their real motive is not the desire to love and know and serve the living God but to enjoy a personal bliss, albeit in an impersonal form? They might spend years in meditation to perfect themselves for this but if their inner orientation is off then their meditation might bring them peace and detachment but it will not deepen real understanding. There is a big difference between renouncing the self for a perceived spiritual benefit (though who is this supposed to benefit?) and laying down your life for your friends. One is almost an investment or 'deal' while the other is a gift of self-sacrifice in love. 


The approach criticised here can be associated with quietism which often has the allure of an advanced form of spirituality. The quietist turns his back on the world for absorption in contemplation. But the danger here is moral neutrality and moral neutrality actually enables immorality and must therefore share in the wickedness of the latter. If you don't give a proper recognition to creation, you will be unable to perceive or to stand against evil and will therefore be drawn into it. This is the trap for the monistic mystic.



*Note: Just to be clear, I am talking about the virus itself. Our reaction to it is important in that it is driven by fear and will potentially lead (was this the intention?) to vast numbers of people directly dependent on the state for their survival.