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!

Thursday 28 March 2013

A Credo

Since I do not follow any official spiritual path I have sometimes been asked what I believe. I could say that beliefs are secondary and I simply try to follow the inner path as it has been revealed by the Masters who instructed me, and by many saints and sages throughout the ages. But, of course, I do have beliefs. We all do because we have to make sense of the world, the meaning and origin of which are not immediately apparent. A belief system is the way we do this. Even if we choose not to have beliefs, or consider that nothing can really be known, that is still a kind of belief.

Our beliefs will be based on a number of factors, intellectual, emotional, cultural and so on, and these are predominantly personal things. But deep-rooted spiritual beliefs can derive from an intuitive understanding of the nature of reality, and this goes beyond the merely personal. With that in mind, I will set forth my beliefs here. Some of them are absolutely fundamental though the form and expression they take may change as and when I develop a higher understanding. Others are less unshakeably held and more truly beliefs in that I have learnt them on my travels. They are not what caused me to set out in the first place. Consequently they belong more to the mind than the heart even if they were only accepted by the mind in their current form because the heart inclined towards them anyway.  

Here then is my credo.

I believe that the basis to life is spiritual by which I mean that we are not the body and we are not the mind. We use these things but are something much more than either of them. Call it the soul.

I believe that this material universe is the expressed form of a living reality that transcends it. Call it God.

I believe that God has a personal aspect which relates to creation and an aspect which relates to non-manifest being, and that these may differ in expression but do not in reality.

I believe that all life is one. There is one God and there is nothing else other than God. God created all the worlds out of His being and He is present within every atom but He also transcends the entire manifested universe. He is the Absolute but he is also the most intimate.

I believe that, at root, God and the soul are one and that the experience of life in this world is designed to bring that to our full attention. Hence Earth is a school. The sole purpose of this school is to make the individual soul fully conscious of itself as pure spirit.

I believe that, despite appearances, all is working out as it should because God is love. The pain and suffering we experience now will one day be seen in their true light as tools designed to open our eyes to the truth about ourselves. I don’t believe that this means we should ignore the suffering of others or that we should not try to relieve it whenever we can.

I believe in the hierarchy of existence. Life is one but the moment it manifests the one starts to become the many and hierarchy necessarily emerges. It appears in the structure of the planes of manifestation that descend from pure spirit to gross matter and it appears in the great chain of being that stretches from the mighty archangel  to the humble cell.

I believe that the goal of life is spiritual realisation and nothing else is of any real account. I also believe that many people are sidetracked by ‘lesser goods’ and diverted from their true paths as in (for example) attempts to improve this world. These will never succeed if they do not grow out of spiritual understanding which must always come first. This world will only improve when we acknowledge our true nature and are faithful to our primary purpose, and that is to grow in spiritual understanding. All the attempts to establish a kingdom of heaven on Earth are doomed because the kingdom of heaven is within and if we have not found it there we can never make it here.

I believe that the good, the beautiful and the true are real and that they alone are real. They are the yardstick against which everything in life should be measured. We know in our heart what is real, and what is not, and we should always listen to our heart.

Following on from that, I believe that truth is to be found in the heart not the head. That is not to deny the importance of mind but it should be a servant not a master.

I believe that there is a faculty in us that knows truth because it is one with truth. This is the intuition which, in this sense, has nothing to do with the more conventional meaning of that word. It is direct insight into the real nature of things. Traditionally it has been called the Intellect which again, in this instance, has nothing to do with the more conventional meaning of that word.

I believe that God sends messengers to call us back to Him and that, historically, the two most significant of these have been the Buddha and Jesus Christ. But Christ is pre-eminent because he brought the fullest revelation of God, both in his person and his teaching.

I believe in what Christians call the communion of saints. I believe that the Masters who spoke to me come from this brotherhood. They are souls who have gone beyond identification with their material selves, including mind and ego, and become one with the uncreated spirit aspect of their being. They are our teachers and guides.

I believe that evil exists and we can’t ignore it but also that, ultimately, it is unreal because there is nothing but God and God is good. Evil is not a positive thing but the absence or distortion of a positive thing and so it has no true reality. I don’t doubt that there are powers that seek to subvert spiritual unfoldment but they will not prevail because all is guided and sustained by divine Love and Wisdom.

I believe in free will and that whether we rise or fall is up to us. Despite my belief in divine providence, the possibility of a fall exists if we choose to follow the downward path, and it must do or the reality of a rise could not exist either. Otherwise put, if salvation were inevitable it would not be salvation and it would scarcely be worth gaining.

I believe that reincarnation is the means human souls progress but, at the same time, each incarnation is a new one and that we should live in the present not look back to the past. I also believe that everyone born into this world has a destiny in life. That is not fixed, and probably constantly adjusts as life proceeds, but we are born with a blueprint, based on our needs and capacities, and it is up to us to discover that and put it into practice.

I believe that the love of God is unconditional but that it cannot be seen apart from the law of God. The two go together in the same way that justice and mercy do. There is a spiritual law which is Truth, and if you transgress this you face consequences just as you do if you transgress a physical law. By this means we learn. I further believe that this law is imprinted on our heart and recorded in our conscience. The Law is not something that exists outside us but is part of the fabric of our being.

I believe that the male female division in human beings reflects the basic duality of spirit and matter or life and form and is therefore the key to creation. However I also believe that, although the sexes have different roles because their purpose is a complementary one, each is capable of developing, to the highest degree, qualities traditionally associated with the other. Nevertheless this should always be in the context of an essential masculinity or femininity.  I further believe that in the spiritual world differences between male and female still exist, and do determine the expression and function of each soul.

These beliefs determine my approach to life. They are not always easy to hold in the modern world nor are they always easy to live up to, and that brings me to the final item in this list.

I believe that there is a spiritual path which has the potential to lead us out of darkness into light. This path demands our full attention and total dedication but it alone can lead us back to the source. There are many false paths which make fewer demands but they don’t take bring us to the true God.

Monday 25 March 2013


I see that an actor from Coronation Street has got himself in trouble for his view of karma when he claimed that victims of sex abuse were paying back for the sins of a previous life. He has been attacked for a simplistic view of the law of karma, which is doubtless the case even if those of us who believe in a universe governed by justice must admit that he may not be entirely wrong either. For if we do insist on that then we are also proposing that the universe is quite random and without purpose, and that at its centre there really is a black hole not a loving heart.

Here we have one of the oldest metaphysical problems. Why do innocents suffer?  If we believe in God, we must believe in justice. If we believe in reincarnation then we must accept that our current experiences are likely to be the outcome of past actions but, and I think this is very important, we must think that in relation to ourselves and ourselves alone.  When it comes to others we have been told not to judge, and we have also been told to have compassion for all beings for “what you do to the least of these you do to me”. We have no idea what anyone else may or may not have done in a previous life, and we cannot know why they experience what they do.  We can assume nothing and we can judge no one. Suffering may be a karmic consequence of past behaviour but it may also be part of a lesson we have requested before birth in order to speed up our spiritual development. It might also be a sacrifice we have accepted in order to assume a share of world karma, and, by bearing a portion of humanity’s burden, relieve some of that burden. Obviously atheists will dismiss all this as a desperate attempt to cling on to a belief in a just and ordered universe despite evidence to the contrary. However any pattern, which may appear completely jumbled and meaningless when you look at it from too close up, will reveal itself as coherent when you adopt the correct vantage point, which in this case is the metaphysical one.

So the way we should think of karma is in terms of how our present behaviour might affect us in the future. Forget the past and what you may have done. Think only of what you do (and think) now, and realise that the only person you should be concerned about in this respect is yourself. As for others, never judge because you do not know. Besides, whatever the reason for another's suffering, the only response of a spiritual person is compassion. If you respond with anything less then maybe you are creating some karma for yourself.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Michael Lord

Michael and me in Yercaud, India in 1982

None of the events described in the book ‘Meeting the Masters’ could have happened if the Masters had not been able to find and use an individual able to function as a medium for their manifestation in this world. In this instance that person was Michael Lord and it is only fitting that a section of this blog should be devoted to him.

For those who have not read the book I will briefly recap what is said about Michael there. He was born in the county of Buckinghamshire, England in 1919. His father served in the British Army in India, and his mother’s family also had a long connection with the sub-continent. In fact, Michael was conceived in India but his mother went back to England to have her baby, returning to India with him almost immediately afterwards. 

Michael’s parents’ marriage was not a success and his father left his mother soon after Michael’s birth, never seeing him again. Michael’s mother remarried but not until he was about 15 years old so his main relationship was always with his mother to whom he was devoted. He was sent to an English prep school, which he loved, and then a public school which he hated, the constant beatings for the mildest infringement of school discipline being a major factor. His mother, sensibly, took him out of that school, sending him to one in Switzerland which was much more to his taste.

When the 2nd World War came Michael, following family tradition, joined the Indian Army which at that time had British officers. His regiment was the famous Corps of Guides. For the first years of the war he served as A.D.C. to the Viceroy of India but then his mother, who thought he was having too easy a time of it, encouraged him to seek a posting with a unit on active service. He was sent to Burma and promptly captured by the Japanese. He would never speak of his time in the Japanese prisoner of war camp but I know that what he saw and experienced there left an indelible mark on him.

When the war ended he left India and, not seeing much future in post war Britain, went to New York where he did various jobs though apparently always put more energy into his social life than his professional one. His mother died when he was in America and, though he didn't return to England for the funeral (not so easy in those days), this must have affected him deeply for it was shortly after that he began to explore spirituality, eventually converting to Catholicism to become a Benedictine monk.

Michael spent a couple of years in the monastery but left because he did not want to become a priest which apparently he would have had to have done in the order he had joined. He would have preferred to remain a simple brother leading a contemplative life but he also said that he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the rigid belief system. I think that the Masters intended him to experience the monastic life for a period to give him a grounding in spirituality but it was not his true vocation. He went back into the world, becoming secretary of the Carlton Club in London, and his spiritual life was put on hold. I take this as an indication that spiritual training, in the sense the Masters think of it, is a much broader thing than just following an overtly spiritual practice. That way of life might sometimes even cause us to stagnate if we stick in an old familiar cycle when a new one should be beginning. The primary focus of our life lessons can change and we must be sensitive to pointers indicating that it is time to move on. 

Michael had been interested in Indian spirituality even as a Christian monk, and in the early 1970s he went to Calcutta where he took as his guru a swami in the Ramakrishna order. He did not remain with this swami for long though he always had the greatest respect for him. I met him on a couple of occasions and he was a genuinely spiritual person. But something always drove Michael on until he encountered the Masters who were his true spiritual mentors. This did not happen until 1978 when Michael was 58 years old, around the time of his second Saturn return for those who are interested in such things. So it was not until that age that he finally found what he had been looking for, something perhaps to encourage all those who labour away at the spiritual coal face without any apparent opening.

Michael in 1978 around the time he was first contacted by the Masters

Thereafter Michael served the Masters faithfully as their medium. This was not without its sacrifices as offering yourself up for the use of beings as elevated as the Masters takes its toll on the emotional nature which is made highly sensitive. But Michael shirked nothing and asked for nothing for himself in return.

It has been said that the Masters do not speak through people in trance who have no idea what is being said through them because that would be infringing free will. Generally speaking, I would agree but there are exceptions that prove the rule and this was one of them. The Masters' use of Bill Coote, as recounted in the book 'The Boy and the Brothers' by Swami Omananda is another. Free will is not infringed if the medium is a disciple of the Masters and has voluntarily offered himself for this. Moreover this is the only way that a message can come through without any adulteration at all because, in these cases, the medium is quite simply not there. The Master speaks with the Master's voice and what he says is precisely what he means. They are his words not the medium's verbal interpretation of impression. It really is as if he were physically in the room with you. I have heard the Masters speaking through Michael and I have heard recordings of purported channellings of the Masters where the medium is conscious of what he says. I have to tell you that, in terms of vibration, there is just no comparison at all. A conscious medium will always condition what comes through him or her and that is because it comes through the mind. In Michael's case the medium's mind was not a factor because it was not there to influence the proceedings.

The Masters told me that very few mediums were sufficiently pure and without guile or desire for self-advancement for them to be able to be used in this way. There needed to be something in them that corresponded, to some degree at least, to the level from which the Masters spoke. Michael had two qualities that qualified him for this job. He was childlike in the best of senses, and he loved unselfconsciously. If you aspire to be a messenger for the Masters, in any way at all, you too must have a pure heart. This is a qualification that can't be sidestepped by any amount of meditation or spiritual practice of any kind.

I have been asked if my only contact with the Masters came through Michael and the answer is yes and no. Yes, my only direct contact, as in external contact, did come through him. This contact lasted for 21 years, from the beginning of 1979 until Michael's death in 1999. It was very regular in the early days, becoming less as time went by and ending at around half a dozen times a year. The Masters never advised me on personal matters and I would never have asked them about such basically unimportant things. Their only concern was with spiritual instruction.

But no, using Michael as a medium was not the Masters' only way of communicating with me. As they told me right from the beginning, this was an arduous form of contact, arduous for them and especially arduous for Michael. They also communicated inwardly but this requires sensitivity to the soul and relative freedom from mental conditioning, and who is perfect on these counts? As they put it, their impressions to me were sometimes coloured by wishful thinking on my part. So I try to be aware of the Master's word and not distort it by personal prejudice.  I can never be entirely sure that I am correctly interpreting any impressions given me but the attempt to be unattached and faithful to the highest truth one can is all part of the learning process.

Michael loved the Masters and was loved by them. He was far from perfect but he stands as an example of someone willing to give up everything in a worldly or personal sense in order to serve them. It's a good example to follow.

Michael and friend, India 1982

Sunday 17 March 2013

The True Nature of Things

All the problems we experience today (I am tempted to say in any field) have but a single cause, a cause absolutely fundamental but rarely recognized. One whose discovery would start to put right all wrongs, and, if properly acted upon, would liberate the human race from the prison in which it is currently confined without, for the most part, even being aware that it is in prison.

I refer to a profound ignorance of what we are. If we knew what we were then we would know what we should be, and if we knew where we came from, we would also know where we should be going. But because we don’t acknowledge our true nature we are unable to find solutions to our problems. We never shall find those solutions until we understand the real cause of the problems.

For anyone growing up in the modern world there are really only two choices when it comes to an understanding as to what a human being might actually be, and neither of them are satisfactory. Either we subscribe to an increasingly outdated religion, which is usually a matter of believing what we are told to believe, or else we adopt the prevailing materialist ethos. In fact, this ethos is so powerful, in that its tenets are mostly assumed without question by the common culture, that it has affected religion to a large degree, weakening its already diminished power and leaving it looking like an archaic superstition, fit only for the naïve and the gullible.

I don’t mean to attack religion here because, for all its flaws, it does at least preserve something of the truth, albeit in a form that is quite inadequate for the modern world. I lament the fact that most people growing up in the (what was once) Christian world have little or no idea of the religion of their forebears. They are indoctrinated with the atheistic worldview that sees humanity as evolving out of the animal kingdom and still no more than an intelligent ape. They uncritically accept that idea and inevitably it moulds their approach to life and their behavior as well. I rejected the Christianity I grew up with as a belief system but I’d be an ungrateful fool not to recognize how much I learnt from it or to acknowledge the great debt I owe it. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from other religions too. We can certainly gain enormously by peeling off the outer skin of the old faiths and detaching the sacred revelation that lies at their core from the manmade elements that have obscured that over the centuries. But still, when all is said and done, for it to be a viable path, a religion needs to engage our whole being. This the traditional religions can no longer do for most people.

We moderns believe we have discovered the truth about ourselves, that we came from dust and to dust we shall return and that’s all there is to it. The ancients, who recognised that God breathed life into that dust, and that we are part animal and part angel, were wiser. They may not have had as developed an understanding of the physical world as we do (and nothing I write here should be taken as a rejection of the achievements of science), but they were immeasurably more knowledgeable about what mattered for they accepted their true source. They knew they were the children of God and that children grow up to be adults. Perhaps only a few of them knew that fully but all of them had it as the backdrop to their lives, and it will have informed their attitude to everything.

The modern worldview is based almost entirely on the scientific understanding. It is therefore based on a falsehood. Science, as it stands today, is the denial of God. Now, that is not to say that a sacred science cannot exist. It has existed in the past and, God willing, will do so again one day. Nor does it mean that there are no individual scientists who would subscribe to a spiritual view of life. But science as an intellectual discipline and mindset sees this world as self-existent, without a source beyond itself, and it denies the possibility of a faculty higher than reason. It has cleared away much of the ignorance of the past but it has replaced that with a still greater ignorance, the ignorance of what we are.

We are spiritual beings. Our source is the Divine Intelligence that created the universe as a field in which to express love and joy and beauty. These things are at the foundation of our being and we can never be content until we rediscover that simple but extraordinary truth. So let’s waste no more time in pursuing the transitory pleasures of a spiritually empty existence. Let's dare to believe.

I apologise for the polemical nature of this piece but when the building is on fire you need to sound the alarm.

Thursday 14 March 2013

A Word on the Cover

The cover of Meeting the Masters depicts Beachy Head near Eastbourne on the Sussex coast, a place I know well as it was where Michael and I were living when he died. I would regularly walk along the downs between the village of Meads and Beachy Head, drawn by the atmosphere of the place which was peaceful despite the cliff’s slightly sinister reputation. The springy grasslands and flinty chalk spoke to me of ancient England while the view of the sea from high up on the downs had something almost prehistoric about it. I would look across the waters, occasionally blue but more often grey, and feel connected to a time long before history. But that’s not the reason for choosing this picture as the cover for the book.

Sometimes it’s best not to try to interpret a symbol but just let it speak to the intuition without undue analysis. That way it feeds the imagination rather than the mind which gives it greater meaning. However on this occasion I want to say a few words about why I consider this to be such a suitable cover for the book. It’s not just because it’s a pretty picture nor is it because of the personal relevance, though both of these factors did contribute to the choice of image. Symbolically it’s a very suitable description of what’s inside the book. This book you can judge by the cover.

One of the themes of the book is that there are three basic levels to reality, the physical, the psychic and the spiritual, and wisdom arises when we perceive this and can correctly discern between them. These three levels are shown here by the land, sea and sky, otherwise earth, water and air. When we come to the limits of the physical world we find a new world, a world where thought can take exterior form and form itself is malleable to the mind, but that is not the spiritual world though it may initially seem so to the unwary. The psychic plane, like the sea, teems with life of all descriptions. There is beauty and mystery. There are warm waters to bathe in and depths to explore but there are also sharks and even monsters. Like the sea, the psychic world is constantly moving, changing, reflecting images from above that disappear when you touch them, and, as with the sea, you have to learn to swim.

To find a more stable truth we need to go beyond the sea to the sky, beyond the psychic to the spiritual, but that requires an immense change in our behaviour. It’s relatively easy to go from land to sea and most of us can swim to some degree at least. It’s not so easy to get up into the sky, and even when we do learn to spread our wings and fly we still have to penetrate the clouds, clouds of illusion, clouds of darkness which can only be dispelled by the heat of the sun, that is to say by the divine fire.

So there are these three worlds of existence that are shown on the cover. There is also a lighthouse which it is not hard to see stands for guidance and illumination. It is a little bit of the sun come down to Earth. Normally a lighthouse warns ships to beware of rocks but this lighthouse, which we are seeing from the land rather than the sea, is fulfilling a different function. It is pointing up out of the sea into the sky and lighting the way clear to heaven. It is the beacon of the Masters that is there to provide bright, clear, absolutely reliable guidance.

The one thing you can't see in the picture is the sun, though without it you wouldn't be able to see anything. That also has a meaning.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Forget the Personal Self

 A question posed in a comment on the previous post ties in rather well with what I had intended as the subject of this one which was to be a consideration of the Master's statement to "forget the personal self and merge with the universal self". (Note: I put direct quotations from the Masters in bold so as to draw attention to them more easily). The question asked for clarification on the remark that the mind is part of the outer self, and I think it takes us right to the heart of the matter. What is our real self?

First though, let's define our terms. When I say mind in this instance I mean the thinking self, the part of us that we know as 'me' which is the part described in the statement above as the personal self. When we talk of my mind or your mind, that's what we mean. It's true that some teachings do use the word mind to mean consciousness in its most fundamental sense as in Universal Mind but thinking and consciousness per se are different things from a spiritual perspective which is why I am sticking here with the everyday definition of mind as thought.

But let's not quibble over words. The question is, if mind is part of our outer self, what is our real self? In this blog, as in the book, I am going to try to keep things simple and without undue references to esoteric philosophies, Eastern metaphysics or occult terminology. Not because I have anything against such things (on the contrary, I like them) nor because I think I can do better than them but because I don't want to lapse into theory. I want to be as practical as possible. The Masters always stressed the virtues of simplicity and warned against the human tendency (tendency of the mind?) to get caught up in highfalutin spiritual fancies. I want to avoid that here.

So who or, better put, what are we? Are we the body and nothing else? A materialist would say we are and contend that the mind is nothing more than the workings of the brain. It's hard to prove this wrong using the mind itself as the weapon of choice but it is utterly mistaken, and I would guess that most people reading a blog of this nature would go along with that. The brain is formed by the mind, not vice versa, and is simply the latter’s vessel on the physical plane. Indeed, the Masters implied as much when they said that “the body is a frame”. The immaterial precedes the material, which derives from it as its expression in the world of form, and this can, in fact, be easily verified but only through mystical experience and intuition, using that word to mean spiritual insight or direct perception  rather than in its more prosaic sense of a feeling or hunch. Mind cannot know truth. We cannot know ourselves by using a faculty that exists on a lower level than the level of our true existence.

If we are not just the body, are we then the mind? The mind is clearly an important part of the totality of our being but is it at the centre? Is it what we truly are? If not then it must be part of our outer self. Perhaps we are back to definitions again but one thing that is surely obvious about the mind is that it only functions in time. Thinking is a temporal pursuit. It is also an activity, mental not physical but an activity all the same, and right there we have the answer to our question. Thinking takes place in time and it involves doing not being. But being, essential being, must be beyond both time and activity for these belong to the world of becoming. What we call spirit, which is the reality behind mind, transcends the phenomenal world of time and change, and that is the world in which the mind operates.

So we can say that mind is a builder and interpreter of perception but it is not the perceiver. It is not the eternal Witness. We can further add that I need mind to write this essay and you need mind to read it, and even understand it, but mind cannot realise the truth of which it speaks except intellectually.

The Witness is the universal self. The Masters were adept at delivering an apparently simple statement which could bear repeated reflection. When they told me to "forget the personal self and merge with the universal self", they were encapsulating the essence of spirituality. Furthermore they were specifying what a human being actually is. We are not the personal self, although that is certainly what we experience ourselves to be most of the time. We are not the isolated, separate individuals we think we are. We are the universal self.  

This is not a denial of individuality. I remember going to a Buddhist meditation centre in my early days of spiritual enquiry and being told by a monk there that there was no such thing as the individual, that the sense of individuality was just an illusion we needed to see through. “What’s the point of treading the spiritual path then?” I wondered. But either I failed to understand or he failed to differentiate between the absolute and the relative. In absolute terms there are no separate selves and there is only pure consciousness. That is the truth which remains when all lesser truths have dropped away. But we are created beings and, as such, we do have individuality which is not an illusion even if it is not the ultimate truth either. God is love and it is God’s good pleasure to multiply Himself which He does through us. The Masters manifested the universal self in themselves but they manifested it individually. They had realised the universal self as their primary nature and the source of who and what they were, and when we are told to "forget the personal self and merge with the universal self" we are enjoined to do the same thing. So what stops us? It is our identification with the mind. The personal self as the limited, separate self exists only as a creation of the mind. When we cease to identify with the mind then it is gone. But our individual nature remains and must do or there would be nothing to merge with the universal self. This what is meant by Christ being both God and man.

How to merge with the universal self is something we must leave for another time.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Book extract on the Masters

As an addendum to the previous post here is an extract from the book about the Masters. It also says a little about how the teachings were received with some comments on channelling.

‘Writing in 1889 in her book The Key To Theosophy Madame Blavatsky made the following by all accounts typically robust comments.

“Great are the desecrations to which the names of two of the masters have been subjected. There is hardly a medium who has not claimed to have seen them. Every bogus swindling Society, for commercial purposes, now claims to be guided and directed by ‘masters’, often supposed to be far higher than ours!”

It is unfortunately true that the idea of enlightened beings guiding humanity from above has been subjected to a good deal of desecration since it was first made public, with an abundance of channelled communications coming from a variety of exotic personages claiming spiritual eminence, and even a number of spiritual teachers in this world identified as Masters who plainly are not. It may be that some of the Masters are in physical bodies but they are not the teachers publicly working in this world, none of whom has yet reached that level of realisation. Nor are most channelled messages from the Masters, whatever may be claimed for them.

So who are the Masters then? They are spiritual beings who, having learnt the lessons of the material world and overcome duality and identification with the lower self, now exist in the transcendent realm. No doubt their ranks are filled with those who were the great mystics and saints of the past but to seek to associate them with this or that historical character misses the point as they have gone beyond ‘name and form’. For the same reason they cannot be regarded as Christians, Hindus or Buddhists or identified by any earthly appellation whatsoever.  When questioned as to their identity they simply say it is not important and that they are merely different aspects of the One Life. In fact, the word they most often used to speak of themselves was brothers. 

This may make them sound a little remote and impersonal, and yet, whilst it cannot be denied that there is an element about them that could be construed as such, in reality nothing is further from the truth. They are the embodiment of love, and, if they have realised their identity with the Absolute, that does not make them any the less individual. It is just that they have achieved a true sense of priorities. They are aware of the entirety of their being while we only know ourselves as our external form. It may surprise you to know that your mind is part of your outer self but such is the case.

The Masters communicated with me through Michael when he was in a state of trance, usually entered into at the end of a period of meditation.  I have always maintained that this was not a form of spiritualism, as commonly understood, or, since it is just a new word for the same thing, channelling. One reason for this assertion has to do with the nature of the spiritual source. The vast majority of channelled messages come from what are known in occultism as the psychic and mental planes, and they come from beings who exist in those worlds and who have not transcended duality. They may have more knowledge and metaphysical understanding than most of us still incarnate on this physical plane do but they have not attained Christ consciousness. They have not attained liberation which means liberation from form, from self, from duality. Confusingly some of them may believe they have and others may just claim they have so how do you tell the difference? The planes beyond the physical are home to a huge variety of souls with many levels of consciousness represented and the only means of determining that level is through the use of the spiritual intelligence or intuition. That is how you ‘try the spirits’. Common sense helps, of course, but it is not the infallible guide that the properly functioning intuition is. As a rule of thumb to be going on with, though, it can be assumed that, in virtually all cases, channelled communications are not from the Masters whatever the communicators might say about themselves. This is because the Masters work with the soul not the manifested personality and, except in rare cases, their contact is on the spiritual plane. That does not mean that those who do communicate through channelling have nothing worth listening to but it does mean that what they have to say should be treated with caution, and that discrimination should be exercised at all times. Always couple an open mind with a healthy scepticism and realise that a channelled message may well contain a mixture of truth, half truth and error. It’s up to you to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Quite apart from the question of the source there is the problem that all channelling is coloured by the personality of the channeller. His or her ideas, beliefs, opinions and prejudices all affect, sometimes quite radically, the message. They may subtly shade it or they may completely distort it but they will certainly affect it to some degree. This was not the case with the communications through Michael as his body was used but not his mind. He was, the Masters told me, quite literally taken out of his body, which they occupied for the duration of the talk, and he did not influence that talk in any way. I realise that I can offer the reader no proof for this assertion but can only report what I was told and what, as a witness to the proceedings, seemed to me quite evident. I am also aware I may appear to be withholding from others what I demand for myself when I claim that I spoke to the Masters (or they spoke to me) but many other people who make similar claims are deluded or deceived. But I must speak the truth as I see it. To encounter the Masters is to love them and (quite foolishly, since they are far above such concerns) to wish to protect them from the many distortions and travesties carried out in their name. But much more importantly, for the sake of spiritual aspirants who might be put off the whole idea of spiritual Masters because of the nonsense the subject can attract, I would like to add my voice to those who would put that subject back on a more serious footing, one more in keeping with its essentially sacred character. I may not succeed in this but any deficiencies on that score are entirely mine and not the responsibility of those who spoke to me whose words, I hope, as I record them here have still enough authority to bear witness to their authenticity.’

Monday 4 March 2013

What Are Masters?

The following article appeared in Watkins Mind, Body and Spirit magazine last October though in a slightly edited version. Since the principal purpose of the book is to present the Masters (and their teachings) in as faithful a form as possible, it is important to establish from the outset what they really are. Two common responses I have come across when people are introduced to the idea of elevated beings who guide the spiritual education of humanity are disbelief and indiscriminate belief. As I hope the article makes clear, the Masters certainly do exist but, as it also points out, there are imitation and false Masters roaming the psychic world and, in fact, these are more frequently and more easily contacted because they are nearer to us in terms of our current state of consciousness.

There may be a little repetition in this article from previous posts but it was originally intended as a stand alone piece and I've left it as it was.

                                                          What Are Masters?
In this article I hope to shed some light on the idea of discarnate spiritual Masters as the enlightened guides of humanity, and to set out what they are and what they are not. This is an area in which there is still a lot of illusion and confusion. The purpose of the article is to show why that is so and to clarify, for believer and sceptic alike, what remains a difficult subject.

For over a hundred years now the idea of spiritual Masters has been well established in Western esoteric thought and, one might add, myth. These are alleged to be beings who have gone beyond the need for the human experience and now exist in a state of elevated consciousness, free of the limitations of form as we know it. They have realised their identity with God. The Theosophical Mahatmas of Madame Blavatsky were probably the first and best known of these Masters but many other groups and individuals have claimed contact with similar or identical beings since, and there are a number of teachings, received in various ways, supposedly deriving from them. Some of these teachings are profound and spiritually illuminating. Others are almost trite. What is the reality behind all this, if indeed there is one?

The Masters as presented by the Theosophists started off as flesh and blood figures, enlightened but physically incarnate though dwelling in Himalayan remoteness. Recent research has suggested that they may originally have been based on actual people encountered by Madame Blavatsky on her wanderings; people she then used as models for the Masters who would therefore be largely her creation, in appearance at least. But that’s certainly not how they were thought of at the time and subsequent Theosophical leaders expanded on the original picture of the Masters considerably, elevating them to almost Christ-like figures. They promoted the young Krishnamurti as their intended mouthpiece only to be discomfited when he rejected the position intended for him, apparently turning his back on the whole idea of Masters. However the concept of spiritual supermen did not go away. It was taken up by other groups, too many to list here, and is now an intrinsic part of occult and New Age thought with a variety of channelled communications purportedly emanating from what has come to be called the Spiritual Hierarchy. For the interested layperson separating fact from fiction in all this can be something of a challenge.

You might think that either such Masters exist or they don’t exist but it’s not quite that straightforward. In a famous passage Dion Fortune said “The Masters as you picture them are all ‘imagination’. I did not say that the Masters were imagination (but) the Masters as they are supposed to be in popular would-be esoteric thought are pure fiction.” This is fairly unambiguous. It makes clear that the Masters are real but they are not as we think they are or as presented by some of those claiming to represent them. This does not mean that such people are deliberately misleading us and to understand why this is so we have to understand something of the composition of the higher worlds from whence these people say they derive their inspiration.

Occultism tells us that between the physical and purely spiritual worlds there exists a realm corresponding to the human psyche which is usually called the astral plane. This is non-physical but still material in that it is a plane of form and multiplicity. It has no permanent reality but is formed of the wishes, desires and thoughts of human beings built up over thousands of years. It is the world to which belong the emotions and the imaginative impulses of humanity, and, significantly for our topic, the substance of which it is formed is readily responsive to thought. What this means is that the psychically sensitive person can either create, through imagination and aspiration, an image of a Master or else ‘tune in’ to a pre-existing one. If he lacks spiritual discernment he may mistake the image for the reality. This image or thought-form is not inert like a statue but may acquire a kind of life of its own. It may be capable of giving teachings that reflect its creator’s already existing spiritual knowledge and thus give the impression of a certain attainment.

This is one source of confusion, one that relates to the imagination spoken of by Dion Fortune, but the matter is further complicated by the fact that there exist on the astral plane disembodied beings who may pose as, or even consider themselves to be, Masters. These beings may have a sophisticated knowledge of the inner worlds but that does not mean they have transcended identification with self which would be the case with a genuine Master. This is why they still function at lower levels. They may give teachings which to the intellect seem good and true but which will lack the transformative impulse that would come from one who might give similar teachings having personally realised their essence. Moreover these lesser teachings will always contain flaws that act like vinegar in milk, souring the whole.

The Masters are not focussed on the astral plane. They are not, except in the rarest of cases, the beings that communicate through channelling. Their field of operation is the spiritual world which transcends the phenomenal realms of change and multiplicity of which the astral is still a part. Only very seldom do they descend below this level. They are not the exotically named and titled figures of occult fantasy.

What then are they? They are liberated souls, men made perfect who have overcome all attachments to the material world. They are individualisations of the Absolute, as we all are, but they are fully conscious of and at one with their source as we are not. For them the mind is no longer the focal point of consciousness but that which gives form to consciousness, and their teachings and methods of teaching reflect that reality. Hence their preferred means of communication is not mind to mind but soul to soul, that is to say, on an intuitive rather than a mental level which is to say through impression not words. They teach spirituality spiritually.

Now this does not mean that the Masters never communicate more directly. Most certainly not everything that is claimed to emanate from them does so but there are occasions when they approach incarnate humanity on a less rarefied level, and a number of teachings have been transmitted that do bear their imprint. It is not for me to say what may or may not be authentic. That is something we must work out for ourselves since this is how we develop spiritual discernment, and the awakening of the mind in the heart is the principal goal of all spiritual endeavour. One clue I might give though. The Masters shun all that has to do with the personal. They teach of and from the soul by which I mean that spiritual component of our being which exists in the changeless, timeless world beyond form and the mind as normally conceived. They do not deny the individual but the bedrock of their teaching is that we should forget the personal self and merge with the universal self. Any teaching which does not have this at its heart, and I am not referring to the words but the tone of the teaching (words are easily imitated), is not from them.

The Masters are the spiritual guides of humanity but before they can come to us we must go to them. We must want them but we must want them in the right way. We must want them with a pure, unblemished aspiration that, putting it in conventional religious language, loves God for Himself not His gifts. If we are self-seeking that is all we will find.

If we wish to hear the Masters we must make ourselves receptive to their voice which requires learning to silence the mind and disentangle ourselves from attachment to things of this world. If we wish to respond to the true Masters and not their astral reflection then we must subdue all that relates to the astral plane within us, self-centred desire, wishful thinking, pre-conceived ideas and the like. We must be able to remain faithful to the highest that is within us regardless of pressures from outside which can take many forms and include even the apparently wise.

What motivates the Masters as teachers is love. What drives them to persist in the face of numerous obstacles and misunderstandings on our part is love. What causes them not just to tolerate but to disregard our weaknesses and failings is love, the love that lies at the heart of the universe with which they are totally one. If we can summon up in ourselves just a fraction of that love then they can draw near to us. We may not be consciously aware of their presence but it will manifest itself in our lives. We may not see or hear them but they will be able to guide and inspire us and bring us into a closer union with our own soul and that, after all, is the real goal of the spiritual path.

Saturday 2 March 2013

The Book

Press Release for Meeting the Masters

Some visitors here will already be familiar with the book of which this blog is an extension. For those who are not this post aims to explain a few of the ideas behind it.

The Masters in the title are spiritual beings who are not to be confused with any earthly teachers on the one hand or normal channelled entities on the other. In a future post I may elaborate a bit on that but here I will just state it as a fact. They are members of the company of saints who have fully realised their identity with their divine source. This does not make them any less individual but it does mean that they are no longer limited to their individual selves. One might think of them as souls able to gaze unblinkingly at the spiritual sun because the scales of worldly attachment and desire have fallen from their eyes. In conventional religious parlance, they are one with God.

The Masters are the true spiritual teachers of humanity but they rarely make an appearance at the front of the stage, leaving that to others of less complete realisation. One could speculate that this is because the law, as it currently stands, requires that, in order to benefit from their instruction, we must go towards them before they can come to us. We must make the first move and we must meet them on their terms which means, in effect, lifting ourselves up as near as we can to their level. This requires ardent aspiration, purity of motive and a certain degree of intuitive awareness. Any resultant meeting may only be registered in the heart, that is to say, not consciously known as an external or even internal experience, but the heart is the ground of our existence and its opening up and eventual flowering is the goal of all spiritual endeavour.

Occasionally, however, the Masters do make a more direct approach and this book is the record of one such. It describes the contact made by the Masters with a young man of 22, and the spiritual instruction that grew out of that. The contact was made through the medium of an older man who had spent a lifetime searching, some of it as a Benedictine monk and some in a Hindu ashram, but, finding neither approach really sufficient to answer his spiritual needs, he was always ready to move on. It may be that it is this dissatisfaction with outer spiritual paths that indicates a readiness to be approached by the Masters themselves. I don't doubt that any spiritual path sincerely and faithfully followed will take one some way towards the goal but I would contend that all religions are in a sadly diminished state these days due to the distance they are from their source. They still contain much of great value but are less able to quench the serious seeker's thirst than they were in their prime. Everything contains within itself the seeds of its own dissolution, and it can hardly be denied that all religions now show evidence of decline and decay. A religion is made up of an inner spirit and an outer body. When the spirit withdraws, the body may still remain for a longer or shorter spell but the animating spark has gone and so its power to feed and inspire the soul gradually withers away. As for the contemporary alternatives that have sprung up to replace the traditional religions, few of them appear to have their roots in the divine, being mostly formed from human experience and understanding rather than true revelation. I don't discount them because they serve a need but I don't see any of them as divinely inspired in the way that the great religions undoubtedly were, and so any help they might be able to give is limited. It is my hope that the book and this blog may appeal to others who feel the same way, who look for truth but cannot find it adequately represented in this world. That is not to say that either book or blog is inspired. They are both the work of a flawed, imperfect human being. But I truly believe that they might serve as an opening through which some readers might make their own contact with the Masters. Not necessarily an outer contact but, as I said above, a contact in the heart. And that contact once made can only deepen your connection to God or your own true self, however you might like to think of it. This is because a human being who has realised God to all intents and purposes is God. Don't misunderstand me. Such a person has not become the Creator of heaven and earth but he is one with the source of life and so it is not he who lives but God who lives in him.

The press release reproduced above says a bit more about the book and its author. The main part of the book consists of talks from the Masters to their far from perfect pupil, followed by reflections and comments on the Masters' words. By describing myself in that fashion I mean only to say that this is a practical book, a spiritual textbook, you might say. It is not a philosophical treatise, though I hope it contains elements of that, and it is not a personal history though it certainly contains elements of that. It is a record of spiritual teaching coming from a high source and, as such, it contains lessons for us all, lessons I might add that I am still in the process of learning myself.

Future posts will contain short excerpts from the book and also meditations on some of the Masters' words.