Wednesday, 29 June 2016

From Savage to Sage

In the 1980s when I was in India I wrote a book I called 'From Savage to Sage'. I wrote it with pen and paper on a 19th century rosewood roll top desk bought in a market in Bangalore for next to nothing - another world! Anyway, the book was never published. When I returned to England I sent some sample chapters to a couple of publishers, one of whom replied that it was an interesting read but “the audience for which we cater is receptive only up to a point”!  
That was not because the book mentioned the Masters because it didn't. At that time they were still talking to me, though not as regularly as they had been during the first year of their contact covered in Meeting the Masters, and I was always reluctant to mention them when they were still communicating except in a general sense, by which I mean that I was happy to state that I believed such beings existed but not that I had personally encountered them.

The subject of the book, as implied by the title, was the evolution of consciousness, outlined in general terms according to my understanding of the time. This was the process that, as I saw it, transformed an Adam into a Christ. That is to say, the evolutionary process that turned a new formed spiritual being into a fully functioning son of God. The journey is one from innocence to experience and then back to innocence again but this time as a fully self-conscious state with all the fruits of experience, will, intellect, creativity and so on, added.

The early adamic state is when the newly created individual is not yet conscious of his individuality. He is one with nature and his environment.  He is one with spirit as it is manifested in nature but totally ignorant of his Creator, the transcendent God.  So he has to leave the paradise of union with the Mother principle in order to know the Father.  This means he has to experience the sense of separation and become conscious of duality, and that, of course, introduces the possibility of pain and suffering in a more than purely physical sense.  So he has to discover himself as a person and a true individual. Alone but also free. Early man lived in what we now call a participation consciousness. It was a state of unity but natural not spiritual meaning that the union was an unconscious one with what you might call the anima mundi not a fully conscious union of love with the Creator. So Adam fell in order to know himself. Whether this fall was intended or not is an interesting point.  My belief is that it was not, not in the way that it happened anyway. Adam was meant to evolve in a gentler fashion, one in which death and suffering would not have played so great a part. However the process was disrupted in the way mythologically presented in the book of Genesis, and sin entered in.
 God had to remake his plans for the evolutionary path but he has to do this constantly in response to the exercising of human free will anyway. He may have a plan but it is not fixed. It is an organic thing, always growing and changing according to how human beings react to it and what they instigate. There is destiny and there is free will and the two necessarily interact at every moment as life unfolds. So God's plan alters second by second according to events but its direction remains constant. Yet we need to remember that all this occurs only in time. There is also the timeless state in which everything that ever happens is known to the mind of God in an eternal present. However it would be a mistake to conflate the two modes of being, temporal and atemporal.

So, whether or not the Fall was part of God's original plan (or, most likely, anticipated but not intended), it has happened and we are here as  result of itWe have fallen but we can rise again. The first step in that, though, is to recognise that we have fallen, and this modern man stubbornly refuses to do. There is no doubt that in our journey from spirit to matter and back to spirit again we have reached the nadir.  Like the prodigal son we must turn round and head for home. All the fruits of a separated consciousness that we have gained we must now put in the service of a higher path, one of the journey back to the Creator. But, as a group, the human race shows no signs of doing this which explains the truly dangerous situation in which we find ourselves at present. There are forces who will make every effort to keep us in darkness, either by convincing us that there is no God or else distorting our ideas about God in ways that might serve them. If our hearts were pure we would see through this because a pure heart sees truth. But our hearts are not pure and they will not be so without repentance, the honest acknowledgement by each individual that he is a sinner. There are two things required for this. The awakening to a love for the good and the true, and a genuine sense of unworthiness. This is not a self- flagellating attitude (always a sign of egotism) but a right and proper humility before our Creator.

We must turn the corner. We have experienced the fullness of the stage of conscious separation. There is nothing more to be gained from that and everything to be lost if we continue down that path. But when we search for oneness we must do so in the right way. Currently there are many people and groups who respond to oneness but who do so incorrectly. What they do is seek it on a horizontal level but it is not there and, if it is sought there, all that will be found is a false or artificial oneness, an unnatural oneness. It must be vertically understood, that is to say we must seek connection to God, and only then will we be able to relate to our fellow men and women in the right way. If we try to establish oneness without doing so in the light of God all we create will be oppressive because the horizontal level is that of expression hence one of difference, hierarchically ordered. Oneness can only be in God, and it is to that we must turn. The Masters told me that there are many teaching half truths at present. Nowhere is this more obvious than in ideas about oneness which are distorted and misinterpreted by being applied where they should not be and ignored where they should be operative.

'From Savage to Sage' (the manuscript of which is now lost) attempted to describe the whole process of humanity's spiritual development, going from a state of unself-conscious oneness to conscious separation to conscious oneness. On the face of it, this might conflict with conventional religious teaching, whether of East or West, but I believe it finds a place within that since it since it simply looks at the same question, how to put unregenerate man right with God, from a different perspective and through a longer lens.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Yes - we are 'stuck' and have been for several generations. The idealy of going back to participation consciousness has a considerable appeal; but the fact is that people have been saying this for a long time (the fascination with primitive people goes back to Rousseau, or maybe to the Arcadian fantasies of the Renaissance) and it just hasn't happened - hasn't even begun to happen, really (except in imagination - which does have value).

We have to go forward into something rather difficult to explain and poorly understood.

Or we *could* simply stay in stuckness of consciousness and wait until after death (and spend as much time in imaginative fantasy as possible) - which is what many Christians (in effect) do - but this is a waste of our mortal life unless we are sure that there really is no alternative possibility.

I have a feeling that we must be prepared to make fools of ourselves about this! Experiment, try and see if we can move forward, even if we fail over and again - repent and try again - and look like idiots...

William Wildblood said...

Going back to participation consciousness would be worse than staying where we are because it would be regressive. It would be denying the reality of what we are now. All those hippies and pagans have completely misunderstood the problem, and as a result their solution is naive at best but really just self-indulgent and spiritually hedonistic.

So yes we have to go forward. And that means acknowledging the reality of God the Creator both in his transcendent and his immanent aspects. It means, as you very well put it, seeing that Christianity is about theosis even more than salvation, and we are here to become godlike ourselves, as Jesus taught, for we are sons and daughters of the Most High. It means that we must beyond the sense of being an individual into identification with the whole but, as the greater includes the lesser, going beyond (unlike falling below) does not mean losing individuality or rejecting it but transforming it. This will happen through God’s grace rather than anything we can do ourselves, but we have to prepare the ground, which is ourselves, through spiritual practice, humility and love in order to receive this grace.

Then we have to understand that the imagination is real (taking care to distinguish true imagination from its non-spiritual counterpart which is the source of most creative work nowadays) and is our point of entry to the world of the good, the beautiful and the true which are, as it were, the closest we can get at the moment to an understanding of what God is.