The current Western liberal ideal (inherited from the 18th century Enlightenment which carried on the work of the Renaissance in banishing God to the periphery, if not altogether, and placing Man centre-stage) is egalitarianism or live and let live. And this is not, in itself, wrong. But on its own it is certainly incomplete, and it can be downright misguided when taken too far and given priority over an awareness of our divine origins coupled with acknowledgement of the fact that there are divine principles by which we should be guided and to which we should adhere. Not because we are obliged or constrained to do so but because they underlie the structure of the universe and are at the roots of our being so only if we are true to them can we be attuned to our deepest and most real selves. Live and let live is often excellent advice but truth does not admit of compromise, and it is our task to live by God's truth not man's.
So, setting aside the slightly melodramatic tone of the opening paragraph, what I am really arguing for here is discernment and the courage to stand up for what is right and, when necessary, state what is wrong even if we are alone in doing so. For the correct attitude of any person engaged in treading the spiritual path is not an even-handed tolerance of all things that are not actually criminal. Nor is it an approach that regards everything as equally acceptable so long as it does not harm another. No, it is right seeing and for that we must develop and practice discernment or, to put it another way, discrimination. That is, discrimination between the real and the unreal, the true and the false but also between what is a higher truth and what a lower and more relative one that is superseded in the light of the higher. This discrimination (which is none other than insight into divine principles) must inspire us to see and uphold the truth, even when that might put us up against worldly wisdom and the status quo (which it could well do), but at the same time it must never tip over into self-righteousness or condemnation of the other. That is where those who have believed themselves to be fighting for what is right have gone wrong so many times in the past. The old Christian attitude of hate the sin but love the sinner is the correct one for what good is it to maintain the truth if you do so in a way that is at odds with it?
How does this recommendation not to tolerate falsehood or misrepresentation of truth (which always has more power to lead astray in that it can seem plausible) square with what the Masters told me when they said that I should have complete acceptance of people, things and situations? What the Masters meant by that was that the spiritual battle must never be on the level of the personal will. They were not saying that it should not be fought. It absolutely must be fought and, believe me, it is a fight. However it is a peculiar sort of fight for it is a fight against the ego which can never be defeated using its own weapons. Inner non-resistance to what you experience is an essential part of all proper spiritual training. The ego must not react to anything, either to that which is perceived as true and good or to that which is perceived as false and bad. When the ego reacts, for whatever reason, you are on the level of the ego, and spiritually speaking, that is always wrong regardless of what has prompted the reaction. The devil does not mind if you fight for truth as long as your emotions are engaged and you are acting from the dualistic standpoint which is the tussle between opposites. He is happy for you to condemn him if, when you do so, negatives energies are brought into play for it is these that keep you tethered to him.
In the period covered by the book I was occasionally at odds with Michael because I regarded some of his behaviour as ‘unspiritual’. The Masters’ position on this point was clear. It made no difference if I was right or wrong in what I said to him. What mattered was the motivating force behind what I said. Was I speaking the truth from a completely detached perspective or was I personally involved in what I was saying and looking to get a result that would be pleasing to me? In my case at that time it was usually the latter and that is why they spoke as they did in the words quoted above. I had to learn not to try to bend other people to my will, and it is an important lesson for all spiritual aspirants to learn that in the battle to establish the kingdom of heaven, whether internally or externally, we can never go against the free will of another. Not even the Masters or God Himself will do this. The basis of God’s creation of man was that he should have free will and, in the exercising of it, more closely approach his Creator. That is the meaning behind the statement that we are made in His image, and it is why no spiritual master would ever infringe free will even if that might seemingly result in a good outcome. At the same time, the fact that we have free will does not mean that anything goes or all things are permissible. We recognise that free will has its limits when it violates the free will or individual integrity of another. There are boundaries. And free will is a double edged sword because whatever we do returns to us, but that is for God to determine not
Jesus is regarded as the teacher of love and peace par excellence, which he undoubtedly was. He would never condemn or criticise anyone, would he? But of course he did. He let the Pharisees know what he thought of their distortion of spirituality in no uncertain terms, and he famously said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword. By this he meant that he did not come to confirm people in their beliefs or comfort them in their opinions but to raise them up out of worldly ignorance into the truth. He brought the sword of divine justice that separated truth from falsehood and, as he plainly said, if you weren’t with him then you were against him. Not much tolerance or non-condemnation there. But, and it’s a very important but, he spoke from love. First of all, the vertical love of God and then the horizontal love of humanity but (again importantly) he knew that the love of God must always come before the love of Man which really only has any solid basis if it is grounded in the love of God. You cannot truly love humanity if you do not love God. What you can have is a sentimental attachment but that is not love.
Let me sum up. On the spiritual path our sole concern is with truth. We cannot compromise truth in the name of fairness or kindness. But then neither can our concern with truth lead us to condemn others who see things differently. Our only duty is to point out what is true and then let the truth do its work. It is not then for us to be bothered with anything more. We should never be attached to getting a result or worried that the world is such a dark place in which the truth is daily trampled on so we must defend it at all costs. Hard as it is to believe the reality is that there is nothing but truth everywhere and at all times. It is always there. To be sure, in our perception that is not the case, but God is all there is and, if the clouds often obscure the sun, we know that the sun shines as brightly as always behind them. Let us try to disperse the clouds but never fall into the error of thinking that they can in any way affect the light which is inviolate.
This post has meandered a bit for which I apologise. But sometimes following where your feet take you can help you go to places you wouldn’t necessarily have visited if you had mapped out a plan beforehand, and that is how I have approached things here.