Monday, 20 April 2015

The Social Sphere 1

In the UK there is a general election coming up in May which gives me the opportunity to discuss how a person who is serious about the spiritual path should approach the vexed question of politics. My answer to that is brief. As little as possible. 

That doesn't mean you cannot have opinions. Everyone does and it's almost impossible not to. But the serious spiritual aspirant should steer clear of political debate and remain aloof from political ideologies, all of which will drag him down into worldliness, attachment and confrontation.  It is inevitable that any undue focus on the material world will distract you from the spiritual. You might say that the two are one and indeed they are, but they are only so when viewed from the standpoint of the higher or that which transcends them both if you see them as opposites rather than higher and lower aspects of the one reality. In other words, the material is only one with the spiritual when approached from the perspective of the spiritual. If you interact with it on its own level or from its own position or by giving it any kind of priority or by seeing it in any other way than by the light of the spiritual then you have lost focus and moved out of the unity of the spiritual into the division of worldliness. You have succumbed to identification with form and outer things, and lost touch with the inner realities that lie behind them through which, and only through which, they are given meaning. 

Just as the world is not real in itself, but is real as the expression of God, so it is with the material which is without significance in and for itself but full of meaning, truth and beauty when recognised as God's creation.

I'm not saying that a person intent on pursuing the spiritual path should not vote. That's a personal decision, though I do believe that the more aware you are of eternal truths, the less you will be drawn to any kind of political ideology that is not rooted in those truths, and that means all of them (without exception) in these days when the world is seen as having no spiritual origin and no purpose beyond itself, and human beings are perceived solely in terms of their social and material needs and aims. There is no political philosophy (and you may well smile when I use that word in this context) that exists today that has any connection to spiritual truth (or truth tout court) because there is none that derives from a metaphysical basis. There is scarcely one that even acknowledges such a thing for you certainly cannot count contemporary Islamic systems which, if they do so at all, do so in word only while in reality representing complete perversions of proper spiritual understanding. It is transparently evident that they have no link to metaphysical truth whatsoever, exemplifying, as they do, religion drained of all spiritual content.

A spiritually attuned person may well have political views. As I say, that's more or less inevitable until you have reached a high degree of purity and insight. Moreover, even with the woefully limited political ideologies that exist today, that does not mean that everything is equal. There are certainly better and worse options as to how society should be organised and run on offer. 
There are also forces at work consciously seeking to destabilise the spiritual integrity of the human being; inner forces working through outer mediums, individuals and organisations, usually unaware of the source of their inspiration, which are attempting to separate mankind more and more from its divine origin through various means including the deconstruction of the human form, the desecration of the human image and the dismantling in the mind of the true vision of the human archetype. These forces work through art, through social theory and also through politics, and their long term aims  should be recognised and resisted. This may well mean taking a stand that might be interpreted politically even if it is spiritually based.

So the spiritual person will have opinions as to how things should be in the social sphere. But these views are, or should be, always held in the light of a higher metaphysical reality which is at all times and in all circumstances known to be primary. Everything is seen 
in the context of spirituality by which I mean the reality of God, of the soul and of the world as the creation and expression of God. This, of course, puts contemporary notions of left and right in the position of near irrelevance even if both would have certain points in common, either economically or socially, with a proper spiritual understanding.

There are two basic facts which have to be taken into account in any kind of working out in the social or political sphere of spiritual principles, these being the only principles grounded in concrete truth rather than theory or idealism. They are the unity of mankind under God and the individuality of the evolving (as in unfolding) soul. If we take these as our guiding lights in showing how human beings should relate to each other we will not go far wrong. Overdue emphasis on either one will create imbalance and eventual tyranny, but taken together they will result in harmony and give the best framework in which all may flourish and grow.

As a matter of fact, the Masters in 
Towards The Mysteries give a teaching that ties in with this, and which, I believe, provides the key to all matters pertaining to politics as well as all economic and social questions. It is stunningly simple and quite obvious when you think about it. They said that the aspiring disciple should be individual but not individualistic.  A little reflection on what this means and its implications would surely resolve the conflict between left and right, satisfy both their concerns and temper both their excesses.

You cannot serve God and Mammon, and the Masters said something else in these books by Swami Omananda which is relevant to our subject, and which should deter anyone thinking that you can mix spirituality and politics. They said that politics are born in the cradle of corruption. These are strong words and they might be contested by those who believe that everything is political, and that politics, of some sort, is always necessary. That may be so from a purely worldly position but, as I hope to have made clear in this piece, political disputes become quite irrelevant when life is seen from a proper spiritual perspective. Problems and disagreements in the social sphere fall naturally into place when submitted to a higher standpoint. As for politics, however they start off, they always descend into the search for power, and power, as we know, always corrupts.

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