Sunday, 31 March 2013


I am not really an orthodox Christian but I like to think of myself as a Follower of the Way, as the early Christians were known, and I am certainly a Christian inasmuch as I believe there was something absolutely unique about Jesus Christ. I also have no doubt that the Resurrection took place as stated. For one thing it makes perfect intuitive sense, though that in itself admittedly proves nothing. But the fact that a small group of simple people of humble background, crushed and demoralised, were suddenly inspired to go out and change the world strongly suggests that they witnessed something extraordinary. Something so powerful that it raised them up from abject defeat and left them without fear or self concern of any kind as they spread their revelationary message. It is very rare for the higher world to break completely into this one but sometimes it does precisely that. The Resurrection is at the heart of Christianity, and is what marks that religion out from all the others because without it there probably would be no Christianity. It is, I think, a most glorious truth.

It is also, I think, of secondary importance. Its significance lies in the fact that it was a demonstration of the non-existence of death, and that it galvanised the disciples to spread the word and inspired potential converts to receive it. But the true point of Christianity is the word. It is not Christ’s physical resurrection but his spiritual teachings as given in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere. The resurrection is confirmation for us that the spiritual path is the right path, but if we wish to become like Jesus, and know what he knew, then we must tread that path, and that means we must follow his teachings. We must be Followers of the Way.

The resurrection is also a symbol, particularly when viewed as the other side of the crucifixion. The two must go together as death and rebirth always do. The crucifixion represents the complete giving up of everything that relates to this world, the absolute emptying of self. It is a real experience in the life of a disciple, the culmination of a host of lesser givings up that take place regularly along the way. We may not be called upon to suffer physical death in such a terrible manner as Jesus was, but the inner death we will have to undergo will be no less of an examination of the state of our soul at the most fundamental level. We are fortunate to have Jesus' example there to strengthen and uphold us when we face a similar initiation. We should also be thankful that we have his demonstration of the truth that after the crucifixion comes the resurrection and then, at last, the ascension which is the complete transmutation of darkness into light. The Masters told me that as you progress along the spiritual path the make up of your physical body actually changes. The ascension is the completion of that process. It is the moment when matter becomes spiritualised, when Earth is lifted up and made one with Heaven. One might speculate that this is why the bodies of some saints remain uncorrupt after death.

The Masters who spoke to me appeared to regard Jesus as the greatest of their number but they did not mention him much. However their teachings echoed his precisely, because they came from the same place. Their concern, like his, was with crucifixion and resurrection, the crucifixion of the lower self and the resurrection of the spiritual consciousness into universal life. If we have been on the path a certain number of years we have probably heard these words, or something like them, so many times that they have rather lost their meaning. But please consider them once more with me. The self that you and I identify with, that we experience as our real self, that self has to go. It isn't saved or redeemed or liberated or enlightened or made spiritual. It just has to go. This is the crucifixion but please note that the crucifixion takes place at the end of Jesus' life. Obviously, you might say, when else could it be? But there is a symbolic significance to this. In some respects, Jesus' life was a public enactment of the journey of the soul, specifically the latter stages. He had to undergo many experiences and tests, and bring his soul to perfection, before he was able to give up his spiritual life. For that is what the crucifixion is. It is not anything to do with physical death. We all go through that, and many times too, if we are believers in reincarnation. No, the crucifixion represents the death of the soul, the final abandonment of the 'me', and this is not an exchange we make as a kind of bargain hoping to gain something better. That is made very clear by Jesus' anguished prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and, particularly, by his cry from the cross when he believed himself to be abandoned by God.' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Have there ever been more chilling words spoken than these? But this is what we feel when we give up the soul with no guarantee of there being anything to replace it. We surrender our soul to God because God requires it of us and that is all.

So, at the crucifixion we must give up our soul but the moment of desolation passes and the fearful rending apart of self is seen, extraordinarily, not even to have really happened, not in the light of the new reality. This is the resurrection, the realisation that spirit is all there ever was, that the separated self we have clung to for so long was merely a shadow caused by our mind blotting out the sun. Individuality remains as God's gift to us and the fruit of our experience in the worlds of form, but it is no longer what we essentially identify ourselves with. We are now one with God, caught up into his life, and this is the resurrection.

Happy Easter!


Paul Hillman said...

An extraordinarily clear and complete account of The Passion, William. Having rejected churchianity very early on and moved further and further away from the christian narrative I have via several circuitous routes returned to a position which your explanation summarizes very well. It is not difficult to establish the unreliability and inaccuracy of much of the gospels but parts of it will not go away and can be added to by suppressed and "heretical" works which were rejected by the church because they could not be adapted to its narrative. The last and hardest part to accept is a physical resurrection but small detais have an amazing ring of truth. Jesus' forbidding Mary to touch him and her not recognizing him at first. What do you feel was the nature of the resurrection body initially and further on?
The attempts to besmirch the name and reputation of Mary Magdalene and to effectively remove her from the Gospel story is one small example of the distortion wrought by orthodoxy.
Even this weekend she has caused great controversy through the BBC documentary which seems to promote the Dan Brown nonsense and is as almost as wrong as the orthodox version.But this is a side issue and unimportant in terms of the true story, perhaps.
What is your opinion of The Turin Shroud. Genuine or a medieval forgery? If a forgery what were the motives of the forgers , do you believe?

William Wildblood said...

Thank you for your comment, Paul, which, as always, adds a lot to the post. Your points about the small details with the ring of truth are very interesting, and hadn't occured to me. But they are, as it were, unnecessary and that very fact gives them an authentic flavour.

I'm not qualified to judge on the nature of the resurrection body but as Thomas felt it, and Jesus ate fish with the disciples later on, I presume it was reasonably normal in the physical sense. It was only at the ascension that it was transmuted into a light body. The Masters do have the power to build a body for themselves by means of thought but the resurrected body of Jesus was not like that.

One of the interesting things about the Gospels is how much women were involved, the woman at the well, Mary and Martha,the woman about to be stoned for adultery and, of course, Mary Magdalene. This must have been unusual for the time. The Dan Brown nonsense (which he took from elsewhere anyway) is, as you say, nonsense. Nevertheless people intuitively feel that Mary Magdalene is one of the central figures in the story. Unfortunately our limited spiritual imagination has to interpret this in terms of a romantic liason. Like many events and people in the Gospels she exists at a factual level and a symbolic one, and, in the latter sense, she stands for the soul, I think, or at least a certain aspect of it. Fallen then redeemed by love. Isn't the soul usually considered as feminine in relation to God?

In the book I describe the visit of a female spirit. I didn't call her a Master there but she was. She was quite angelic and exuded a holiness and sanctified presence that would have made a truck driver get down on his knees. (No offence to truck drivers). I imagine Mary Magdalene to be something like that.

The Turin Shroud has always interested me. What I feel about it is that it could be genuine. I also feel that one wouldn't be disappointed if it were by which I mean that the face is so majestic that if it really was the face of Jesus one would not feel let down. I don't think anybody has ever come up with a possible technique of forgery, and I read recently that the latest research seems to show that the shroud's material is of the right age. Still, who knows?

Paul Hillman said...

The Cosmic is listening!

Paul Hillman said...

I wondered, William, in the light of your remarks about Mary Magdalene,whether you had any thoughts on Sophia, the Wisdom of God , as developed in various Gnostic Gospels, and elsewhere in Eastern Orthodoxy.

William Wildblood said...

I don’t really, Paul. I’m familiar with the idea of Sophia but it seems like an attempt to personalise the impersonal really. I do believe there are what, for want of a better phrase, we could call great cosmic spirits that embody certain divine qualities, and that these could take male or female appearance. Perhaps they are part of the angelic hierarchy? Also, the only vision I have ever had was of something that might correspond to Sophia or a classical goddess. But any more I could say would only be speculation.

So I’ll bat that back to you! What is your view?

Paul Hillman said...

I found the myths about Sophia very helpful and a very welcome injection of the feminine into spirituality, definitely missing from religions, certainly in the western world, where catholics dragged the Virgin Mary in almost as an afterthought, a very powerful meme for many.
I know that we have to move beyond the personal but feel that there is a role for myth as long as it is not our final goal. How much of the role of Jesus is wrapped in the narrative myth which those who wrote at least three of the gospels felt obliged to include or was added later is difficult to untangle but it has helped many towards the ultimate goal. I have a great affection for the Gospel of Thomas, which I do not accept is entirely Gnostic and it contains no narrative, only wisdom sayings.Myth and narrative is useful to many for whom the impersonal can seem at first very bleak and as long as it aids in understanding and in moving us towards liberation I see no problem.
I would suggest that you have had perhaps the ultimate personal intervention in the form of the Masters in your life. They are individuals and soul personalities who can lead you, and us , indirectly to the impersonal, through their interaction in our narratives. But perhaps that is stretching things a little?
Sophia may indeed be a cosmic spirit or a myth which attempts to understand explain creation. I am still at a stage where such things are supportive but hope not to remain entangled in them, in the foothills of liberation, so to speak.I hope this makes sense but am not entirely sure that it does.

William Wildblood said...

It makes perfect sense, and I agree with you about myth which is invaluable, spiritually speaking, because it contains higher truths even if the story it tells is not literally true in the dull, prosaic sense.
Western spirituality certainly needed what you describe as an injection of the feminine though that was always present to a degree in that the figure of Jesus included and went beyond both male and female qualities, as, of course, did Krishna and the Buddha.
And, yes, what you say about the Masters is true. They would not deny the individual but would say we must go beyond the personal. Individualities who embody spiritual truth are very inspiring, and, at certain stages, we need them as beacons to the nameless and formless. I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as we don't become fixated on them personally.
There will come a point though when we have to drop that too.

Paul Hillman said...

A Gnostic, whose name I don't recall, said that we must each write our own gospels, which may mean the same as The Masters'statements about individualities which , as you say, can be as beacons to the nameless and formless.