Friday, 21 September 2018

What is the Great Modern Orthodoxy?

And the one thing you cannot contradict without being metaphorically burned at the stake?

Of course, it's equality. This is the first principle of modern Western democracies and it is applied to wider and wider fields. But what is its basis? Does it derive from the study of nature? One would assume it must but when you look for a possible origin, it is hard to find. For equality does not exist anywhere in nature and the belief in it has no rational basis since people are wildly different. They are not the same so they are not equal. It's that simple. In fact, no two things in the created universe are the same. The only things that are so are machine-made things that we describe colloquially as having no soul. This leads me to think that perhaps the contemporary belief in equality is a consequence of the denial of soul which I take to be the founding principle of modernity. For modernity is based on the separation of Man from God. That is its defining characteristic.

No doubt the ideological belief in equality was also a reaction to the pronounced inequality that existed in the pre-modern age. But, like many reactions, it was an over-reaction and we went from one extreme to another. The idea of the oneness of humanity, which gained increasing currency from the 18th century onwards, though deriving ultimately from Christianity, was also a big factor. An inner oneness should not negate outer differences but it has been used to do precisely that. Once again, we have the distortion of a spiritual principle by misapplying it to the material level.

Equality taken to its logical conclusion means everyone, or even everything, is the same. There is no better and no worse. Everything is reduced to a uniform level which means that the idea of quality is destroyed. You can either have quality or equality. You can't have both.  We now live in an age in which quantity takes precedence over quality and it is therefore inevitably an age of general decline, intellectual, moral but most of all spiritual.

We need somehow to restore balance but that will require such an upheaval in our current way of thinking that deeply entrenched beliefs which have grown up over 200 years will have to be thrown out. The idea of hierarchy will have to be reestablished in some form, and people will have to accept that, though we are all one on some level, as far as this world is concerned, we are not equal. Perhaps if we replaced the word equality with justice we might make some progress. Equality means nothing. It describes nothing real. All human beings deserve justice but if you regard them all as equal you will destroy civilisation as, in fact, we are destroying it now. Besides, can you restrict equality just to people? Once you have started, where do you stop? These things have a tendency to move on to the next stage once they have established themselves, and even now there are many people who regard human beings and animals as equal.

Men are by no means equal on the earth plane but that is not a reason for dismissing anybody. With these words, the Masters have summed up the situation. All human beings have intrinsic value in the eyes of God and all have the potential, eventually, to become godlike. But that potential has been realised in some few completely and in some not at all, and in between those two extremes there are as many shades as there are souls. By giving in to the illusion of equality we are actually destroying spirituality because we reduce it to something that no one has more of than anyone else. It becomes something that is within us all to begin with and does not need to be grown and developed. That both devalues the individual and flattens the transcendent. Goodness, truth, beauty and holiness are made meaningless. That is the true end result of egalitarianism.



Troubled Times and What To Do About Them


It's an amusing irony that many people on the left currently think we live in terrible times because of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, quite failing to see that it is their excesses and zeal for destruction that have caused these things. On the other hand, people who might be interested in the themes of this blog also think we live in terrible times but for completely different reasons. They see that humanity has turned its back on spiritual truth and substituted for it a secular version of that. 

Continued on Albion Awakening.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Camel and the Needle

Jesus's remark that it's harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle is one of his most poetic sayings. But, if you happen to be rich, it is also one of his most chilling . I haven't seen recent research but some people used to say it was based on a mistranslation and should have been a rope not a camel that was referred to. That is more mundane but almost as difficult a feat. Then there's the theory that the Eye of the Needle was a gate in Jerusalem through which a camel could only pass when the baggage with which it was laden (its wealth) had been removed. That makes sense but I still prefer the saying in its original form. It has an additional symbolic impact because of the incongruity of the two objects in the image.

I believe that these words of Jesus's have a particular significance for us today. Why? Because we are all rich. Most of us in the West are very well off by historical standards with comforts that our ancestors could only dream of. We have fast personal transport, cheap mechanical servants, as much food and drink as we could want and so on. We can travel far afield and often and have almost unlimited entertainment at our fingertips. We are more distracted than ever before by an abundance of material things, and that seems to me to be a good definition of the primary problem associated with wealth.

It is hard for a rich man to get to heaven because he is attached to his wealth. His mind is taken up with what he possesses and his easeful life does not push him to search for meaning beyond this world. At least, that is less likely than it would be if he did not have the means to fulfil his desires whenever he wanted to. It is obviously not a sin to be rich but riches make worldliness easier and the hardships that spur one to look for help in God are kept at bay. By and large, this is more the case for a greater number of human beings now than it has ever been. Except for those at the extreme margin of society, we are all, to a greater or lesser extent, rich. Consequently, we are all in spiritual peril.

Jesus speaks these words at the conclusion of the story of the rich young man who wanted to become his disciple but was unable to sacrifice his wealth. This young man was a devout God-fearing person who had kept the commandments all his life. But when it came to the crunch he was unable to let go of his worldly advantages. He had become too comfortable. Nowadays I don't think we are normally required to give everything we own to the poor but we are required to sit lightly with material things and not get caught up in them. Whatever we might think, it will be hard to resist their pull on our minds if we over-exposed to such things. And nowadays practically all of us are over-exposed.

The disciples are shocked by Jesus's extreme attitude. How can a camel ever get through the eye of a needle? It's impossible. So it is for Man but nothing is impossible for God, replies Jesus. Nonetheless there is one thing that God cannot do and that is override our own free will. God can save us, however far we have strayed from the truth, but we have first to turn to him. However rich we are, in money, intelligence, artistic talent, elevation of birth, whatever it might be (for remember that wealth is not just measured in money or gold), we can find help in God if we give up our attachments to the things of this world. 

For a camel is to go through the eye of a needle it must become small. For that might we read humbled? Could this be the pointer to what we must do to be saved? Wealth tends to breed arrogance and the sense of superiority. Giving up our riches means giving up our inflated sense of self. And actually, when you come to think of it, doesn't a camel sometimes look rather self important?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Nature and Nurture

There is constant argument between those who think that human beings are largely the product of nature (their genetic inheritance) and those who see nurture (their upbringing and formation) as more important with sometimes the balance falling on one side and sometimes the other. It's a strange debate. Both elements are a factor in what a person is with the deciding element practically always being nature. I would say that's fairly obvious.

However I would like to introduce a third factor into the mix. There is our genetic inheritance, of course, and there is our cultural formation, also of course, but there is something else too which is rarely considered. That is the soul.

I believe in reincarnation and I think that a soul evolves spiritually (and in other ways but spiritually is the most important) through a series of lifetimes in this world. Now, I don't know whether all human beings go through this process or only some but even those that might not do so have a pre-existence in the spiritual world. They are not newly created at conception or whenever it might be. Their spiritual creation precedes their material one.

But let me take the reincarnation scenario first. In this scenario, God creates individual souls on a spiritual level whose consciousness when created will perhaps be similar to that of a new born baby. No real sense of self, no capacity yet for thought. They are enveloped in a kind of passive blissful oneness. They come to this world to develop, first in ways with which we are familiar, bodily, emotionally, mentally and so on, and then in a spiritual sense as they grow out of their ego into a wider sense of union with life but this time experienced consciously. They start off ignorant children and end up saints. That is the aim anyway, with this world, essentially a world of duality with the awareness of God removed so that the soul may grow as an individual, the theatre of operations for their education.

This means that each human being has a spiritual past. We are not just the result of the genetic mix of our two parents and the experiences we have undergone in the physical world. We are also a reflection of our soul, the part of us that is the distilled essence of our previous experience in a number of earthly lives plus our spiritual experience and our actual quality or individual character originally bestowed by God.

The soul itself remains aloft in the higher worlds while it sends down a part of itself into this world, clothed in mental, emotional and physical forms. We are not normally aware of it in its full nature but we could not be aware at all were it not animating our minds with its presence. This soul has a quality. It is not just consciousness but a kind of consciousness with its own nature. It is the soul that drives this man to become a painter or that woman to become a writer, and it is the soul that largely determines the level of achievement of which each person will be capable. The story is more complicated than that because nature and nurture, conventionally understood, also have their part to play, and there is the important matter of karma or spiritual destiny to consider. Not all of the soul may be allowed to come through so that the individual may learn needed lessons. But we can still reasonably assume that those who are great artists or scientists or called to sainthood or excel in any particular field achieve what they do because of the evolution of their souls, their above average development.

Even if reincarnation is not accepted we must consider the fact of the pre-mortal existence of the soul and understand that the quality of any individual soul will have a bearing on its expression in this world. I do think it is a mistake of Christianity that it has neglected this aspect of spiritual reality. It is the soul that animates the physical form created by (or by means of) the parents. It expresses itself through that form and, though limited by the nature of that form, is a strong determining factor in what sort of person we are.

There is then this third aspect to a human being. There is the product of the parental genetic admixture. There is the conditioning of personal experience. And then there is the soul, the spiritual factor behind each individual. In many ways this is the most important.

The soul is like a light that shines through the two lenses of nature and nurture. If a human being had no spiritual pre-existence, it could not be born in this world.


N.B. I don't think the idea of reincarnation negates the element of choice that is a critical factor for all souls, the choice to turn to or away from God. That choice is one of the major reasons for a soul to be born in this world. It may be, though, that a definitive choice is put off until the individual has developed self to the point at which a truly free and intelligent decision can be made - one way or the other. But this is probably the subject for another post.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Age of Aquarius

Do you remember how this used to be presented as a dawning new age of harmony and enlightenment for humanity? How we were moving forward into a bright future in which all men would be brothers, and spiritual benevolence would be everywhere? The idea never made much sense. Given how unenlightened we were at the time, such a radical transformation, even if initiated by rays of cosmic power beaming down onto the Earth, as was occasionally postulated, seemed very improbable. Furthermore, it was not in the tradition of any of the major religions, most of which seemed to anticipate a spiritual decadence at the end of the age, not the precise opposite to that.

More on Albion Awakening.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Is Meditation a Good Thing?

This post might seem to represent a turnaround from ideas I have previously put forth both in my book and here. But I hope to make clear that it is not really so.

The question was prompted by an article I read about the writer Sam Harris who is a regular meditator, and apparently also goes on long retreats, but still manages to be an atheist and a denier of free will. He is not alone. I would guess there are many Westerners who do the same and are the same. Some of them would qualify their attitude as non-theistic rather than atheistic but, whereas in the past I might have been more tolerant of that distinction, I am increasingly feeling it's just, to use an unattractive phrase which is nonetheless descriptive, a cop-out. Not acknowledging the reality of God is not that much different to denying him. In both cases, you are deifying the human self. In the one, from a spiritual perspective. In the other, from a material one. But in both you are failing to acknowledge reality, the reality of the Creator. It seems to me that here is a clear case of human arrogance. Or, if not that, then, at the very least, a failure of insight. God is not an optional extra in spiritual terms. He is the very basis of everything, and his personal nature is indispensable to an understanding of meaning and love. In fact, it's indispensable to the very existence of these things.

It recently occurred to me that I meditated for approximately an hour and a half a day (two lots of 45 minutes) for 22 years. I was 22 when I started on that path. In the last 18 years I have rarely meditated. Perhaps I will start again in 4 years' time! What did I gain from meditation? It's hard to define with any precision. I certainly acquired a detachment from the things of this world but that is not necessarily desirable. Of course, one should not be attached to this world or anything in it but one should not be too removed from it and them either. Meditation does tend to have this effect. Unless you are a well-balanced, psychologically well-adjusted person, meditation can make you too focused on yourself and your own 'spirituality'. It can make you too inward and too orientated to the impersonal, immanent God, usually identified, when it comes down to it, with yourself. Even if it is the deepest level of your being, it is still part of you.

So meditation, or focus on the immanent God, always needs to be balanced by an equal awareness of the transcendent God, and the latter actually has to come first just as the Creator comes before creation. There would be no real you if there wasn't a real God to bestow this on you. This is why the Masters told me from the beginning when I was very enthused for the mystical path that I did not pray enough, and that, while meditation was necessary, I also needed the humbling experience of prayer. In my naivety and pride I thought I had gone beyond the need for prayer which is exactly why I feel myself able to criticise others who have the same attitude. Nonetheless I have to say that even then I did pray. I just didn't pray enough or with a sufficiently humble attitude. Of course, that is probably still the case but at least I do now recognise the importance of prayer.

The critical difference between meditation and prayer is that the former is a technique practised in order to get something, peace, understanding, enlightenment, whatever it might be. Prayer, on the other hand, is the offering up of oneself. You are not trying to get anything but seeking to put yourself right with God. Naturally many people do pray trying to get something and if that something is spiritual and asked for in humility, that is fine. It is one of the purposes of prayer. But real prayer is more than this. It is expressing love and gratitude to your Maker. It is remembrance of God. Meditation does not have this aspect of love and gratitude unless it is mixed with prayer.

I have found that twenty years of meditation has made me over-sensitive to the world. I always was a bit like that but meditation has exacerbated the condition, rendering me particularly sensitive to noise. Therefore I would say to anyone drawn in this direction that if you live in the modern world, in the sense that you are often with people who have no interest in spiritual matters or who are coarse, worldly, loud and so on, it is wisest to restrict any meditative practice. It depends on the sort of person you are but anyone who is more than surface-level spiritual might suffer from the contrast between inner and outer if they meditate too much while living in the world. Don't forget that traditionally meditation was practised only by monks, whether in the East or the West. It was not normally deemed suitable for those who had not renounced the world. I am not saying that you should not meditate unless you have retired from worldly life. Only that you should regulate it carefully and be aware of the possible complications.

There is no problem like this with prayer. or, at least, it is not so pronounced. Prayer is attuning your mind to God as the transcendent Creator, though also present within your heart as your very being. But it does not detach you so much from the hurly burly of the world, and therefore is less likely to lead to reactions caused by the friction between inner peace and outer disturbance. It is also less intense in that you normally remain aware of the outer world and are not completely withdrawn inside yourself.

Motive is all as I frequently say. If you meditate why do you meditate? Do you acknowledge God or are you seeking some spiritual or psychological benefit? Is meditation bringing you closer to God or is it actually distancing you from him by giving you the illusion of spiritual self-sufficiency? By itself it is spiritually neutral. Without a heart inclined towards God and a desire to serve him (rather than yourself) it could be leading you into a state of self-satisfied isolation.


Note: I didn't define meditation here So perhaps, to avoid confusion, I should say that I am referring to the sort in which the mind is stilled, by whatever means, and one sits in silence, attentive to a kind of pure awareness in which there is no trace of the conventional thinking self.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Demons

A large part of the world is currently possessed by demons. I realise this statement would be regarded as, at the least, outrageous and more probably neurotic or just plain insane by most people, including many religious people, and it is one I have reluctantly accepted after quite a long time. But it is clearly true. The degree to which we have embraced falsehood is just too great for any other explanation.

Continued on Albion Awakening.