Wednesday 31 July 2013

Why Is The World Such A Terrible Place?

I was asked this question recently. It refers to a problem that, in one form or another, bothers many people and prevents them accepting that there is a spiritual reality behind outer appearance. That can lead to discouragement and the attitude that there is really little point in trying to make oneself a better person with potentially disastrous results both for the individual concerned and for society as a whole. But if we could understand why the world is not as ideal as we might like it to be I think that would remove one of the main obstacles to belief. It would give meaning and purpose to our existence, and what is life without meaning and a higher purpose than the satisfaction of personal aims which, even if achieved, never brings lasting content?

Q. Why is the world such a terrible place? Why did God, if he exists, not create it perfect? Doesn’t the fact that it’s so imperfect support the materialistic thesis that it arose in a random way rather than an ordered one? I once heard a famous naturalist talk about a worm that burrows into the eye of a child somewhere in Africa and how he couldn’t believe in a God in a world in which such things happened.

A. Have you ever considered the possibility that maybe the world was created perfect, as in the story of the Garden of Eden, and that it is fallen human consciousness that has afflicted it? Traditional spiritual teachings say that when man fell he dragged nature down with him because his consciousness affects or, in this case, corrupts his environment. Incidentally this is why our current materialistic attitudes actually make our world more material and how altering our attitudes to life can have a positive external effect too. But, setting this aside, the point is that Earth nowadays is a school so it is not intended to be perfect as in all good. There is choice and there is good and evil as a result of that. You might even consider that perhaps the Earth is perfect as an environment for the growing of consciousness as we are given the opportunity for a variety of experiences here. That’s not to say we can’t make it better or worse but to expect this world to be a paradise is to misunderstand its purpose.

That was my original and rather brief answer to the question. It makes for a short post but I intend to do a longer one on a similar theme shortly. In the meantime I'd like to end this post by saying that the world is not a terrible place. There may be bad things in it because the purpose of it is to provide choice so that we may grow. Therefore the possibility of distorting the light must exist. But the light, which is the basis to everything, is good. Bad things only exist as corruptions of good things. They have no intrinsic reality in themselves.

Friday 26 July 2013

Some More on the Masters

In the last post I asked two questions but only answered one of them, the question as to why I did not speak or write about the Masters sooner than I did. Here I wish to address the second. Why did the Masters not talk to other people through Michael, given that he was able to act as a medium for them, in the same way as they had done through the Boy, as related in the book The Boy and the Brothers?

As far as I know the incidents described in that book and its companion volume Towards the Mysteries are unique. Though various claims have been made in this respect I know of no other occasion when the Masters apparently just sat and conversed with members of the public through a medium.  They could have potentially done this through Michael but showed no wish to do so. The question is why not?

I have alluded to this before but it’s worth returning to because the answer reveals much about what you might call the mechanics of spirituality.

To understand the reason for the Masters’ seeming lack of interest in engaging publically with men and women in this world, even spiritually focused men and women, we must understand what they are and what their purpose is. Although they were first presented to the general public (by the Theosophists) as incarnate men, enlightened but in the physical body, what a Master really is is a spiritual state of consciousness.  That is the essential part of him and his outer form, by which I mean not just the body, if he has one, but the whole personal aspect of his being up to and including the mind, is a vehicle of manifestation belonging to the world of appearance. Now, this world to a Master is not real, or rather it is only relatively real, an outer garment visible to the mind and senses but in itself lacking true substance. It is the appearance of something real and true in that regard but is illusion if taken as existing in its own right. And not only is this world an illusion in that sense but so is the outer form of the Master.

The Masters have one purpose and one purpose only and that is to make us spiritually conscious. I can’t claim to speak on their behalf but in my view they are not particularly concerned with improving this world in the sense conventionally understood except insofar as that might lead to better conditions for spiritual realisation; and, of course, it is well known that better material or even social conditions are by no means necessarily conducive to the successful pursuit of the spiritual path. Sometimes they might even get in the way. Given that those who wish to misunderstand will often do so, I should add that this is not an excuse to ignore poverty or maintain the status quo. It merely points to the fact that the Masters’ only real concern is with the spiritual life of humanity and how to foster and develop that.

By spiritual life I do not mean the various religions or even schools of esotericism, though no doubt the Masters do seek to work through those and maintain them, as much as possible, as vehicles through which some people might rise higher than they are at present. What I really mean is something far less tangible and harder to define for the essence of spirituality is spirit and much that is called spirituality is actually just a human interpretation of it, just the outer form, just the appearance. This is not the field of the Masters. The something I allude to can only properly be conceived of symbolically and so I must fall back on the time-honoured custom of describing it as light, a certain quality of light that streams forth from the spiritual world via the Masters into the higher consciousness of humanity. There it is received by those able to respond to it and their task is to bring it down to the level of everyday awareness with as little distortion as possible. They must convert pure spiritual impression into something comprehensible by the mind but they must do so in such a way that the mind does not corrupt or contaminate it. An impossible task, in truth, but there are acceptable and unacceptable degrees of contamination and the difference between the two has to do with the amount of input from the mind/ego that is overlaid onto the original impression.

So the Masters’ main field of work lies in impression from planes above form and mentation which the incarnate disciple must translate according to his own understanding. As I have said before, the Masters are spiritual teachers in the purest sense and that is why they do not teach through words, which are concrete things that obscure as much as they convey, so much as through influence. And that is why they do not initiate contact, except in rare cases, on lower levels but prefer instead to speak soul to soul. In the cases where there is such contact one might surmise that it is a matter of readiness and karma, and even then it is likely to be a short-term thing. In my case I was told that verbal communication with them was a phase to be outgrown and would eventually cease, to be replaced by an inner non-verbal contact. That has proved to be the case. 

The Masters’ aim is to make us receptive to the spiritual plane, not the idea of the spiritual plane, and their primary purpose is to awaken the disciple's intuition. This they do by stimulating the higher bodies and then encouraging the disciple to, metaphorically speaking, stretch upwards beyond the everyday mind (through meditation, aspiration, self-forgetfulness and so on), and so become more responsive to those bodies hence more attuned to the soul. There are plenty of teachers in this world to do the still important but more preliminary work of reorienting those focused in their earthly personalities to the soul, but the work of the Masters lies with those who are already conscious of the soul as the dominating force in their lives but have not as yet become totally identified with it. That is why they work predominantly with the soul not the personality.

You can get an idea of their teaching methods by considering their own words.

Obey the impressions we fill you with and be true to your self. The more you respond to impression, the stronger it will become.

Note their choice of words as well as what they say. They use the word 'obey'. Obedience goes against the grain for the modern person as it appears to challenge our personal autonomy, and we are very self-centred (in the literal sense) people. We are individuals and we demand our freedom. But we are not free. We are slaves to the ego with its self-will, opinions and desires. Spirituality requires surrender and submission to the higher authorities, our teachers and our own soul. It requires obedience. Here's a novel definition of a Master for you. It is one who is perfectly obedient. Obedience makes us free.

I have attempted to explain here why the Masters do not normally engage publically with the world. In a nutshell, it is because they work with the soul as that is what they wish us to become. They don't want to make us spiritual people. They want us to realise our true identity as spiritual beings. Now I should perhaps explain why they sometimes do reveal themselves as they did through the Boy, and as Jesus and the Buddha did through their incarnations. In the latter two instances it was obviously to give the impetus for a new religion, a new revelation for a new cycle, one for the Western world and one for the Eastern. It was also to anchor something on the earthly plane, and that may even have been the more important aspect of their missions. On these two occasions it will have been a critical phase in a cycle that prompted (allowed?) the incarnation of a Master (not that I am limiting either Jesus or the Buddha to that epithet as I consider them both to be something more). These were momentous occasions of global significance on which depended the future spiritual progress of the whole of humanity.

But they were exceptional, even abnormal, cases. In the less eventful circumstances when Masters have revealed themselves to the world through a medium rather than by direct incarnation there are two points to consider. On a strictly practical level their appearances are limited anyway by the fact that they need a medium pure enough and spiritually robust enough to allow them to appear. The medium must be able to support their vibration without, so to speak, blowing a fuse. Both Michael and the Boy suffered great psychic strain in doing their work and, as the Masters told me, most mediums simply would not have been up to it. The available vehicles are few in number.

So for them to appear in our world is not easy but what is the purpose of such an appearance, if it can take place, given what I have said above? The basic rule remains, we must meet them on their own ground, at the level of their reality not ours, but rules, as they say, are made to be broken. Sometimes a little direct stimulus is required, either to give that extra push to take one to the next stage or else as an emergency measure when, without such an intervention, a hoped for result might not come about. If you don't catch the tide at the right moment you may have to wait some time for the next one. Moreover a desperate situation requires extreme measures. Looking at the condition of humanity in the 20th century one might speculate that both these factors applied. The general spiritual state of humanity was possibly the worst it had ever been but there were still many individual men and women who were thirsty for truth, and it was these people who called forth the Masters through their ardent longing. Yes, the Masters do work mainly with the soul because that is where they wish to bring us up to but on occasion, if karma permits and circumstances require, they may descend to the physical plane for a brief while.

However, as we know, this is rare. And yet to encounter the Masters is potentially open to us all. In order to do this, though, we have to raise ourselves in consciousness to their level, bearing in mind that, even if we succeed in that, any contact may not be registered as such by the physical brain. But if our intent is pure and we are sufficiently able to still the constant chatter of the mind then we will receive impression. And that is how the Masters speak to us.

Thursday 18 July 2013

More on the Masters

I should say straightaway that this post is largely of a personal nature but broader points do arise from that which is why it is included here.

I have been asked why it took me so long to write the book about the Masters. If they first contacted me in 1979 and then talked to me for 21 years, why did I not seek to share this until more than ten years after the contact ceased? Why not mention them when they were still actually speaking to me? For that matter, why did they not speak more publicly through Michael? The fact is they never did. I assume they could have done if they had wanted to so they must not have wanted to.

With regard to the first question, I could reply, and truly, that we do things when the time feels right, and it did not feel right before now. Some years ago I did write a book setting out what I had learnt, but I did not mention the Masters in that book, and only made a half-hearted attempt to get it published as I was never completely happy with it. One publisher to whom I sent a few representative chapters replied saying, ‘Dear Mr Wildblood, the audience for which we cater is receptive only up to a point’ which I decided to take as a compliment though I doubt it was meant as one!

For the first ten or so years of the Masters’ communications, I never spoke of them to anyone. People knew that Michael and I were leading a spiritual life but neither of us ever talked of what was behind that. We didn’t discuss this together and deliberately choose not to do so. We just didn’t do it. Likewise the Masters never told us not to mention them to anybody else. The subject simply didn’t arise. After several years I did tell my parents about the Masters because I wanted them to understand why I was leading the life I was. They had never condemned me for leading that life, though initially they had tried to dissuade me from it, but I knew that it did not make them happy and I wanted to remedy that as best I could. However my parents didn’t understand when I told them of the Masters. Such a thing was completely outside their worldview, and I couldn't blame them for their reaction. They didn’t think I was making it up, and, as far as I could tell, they didn’t think Michael was a fraud either, or not a conscious one anyway, but it just didn’t compute with how they saw things so they assumed it must be false without quite knowing how it was false.

That’s actually rather interesting. When confronted by something you can’t prove wrong but which simply doesn’t fit into how you imagine the world to be, what do you do? I think a lot of people faced with undeniable spiritual truths, which, if acknowledged, would radically alter their outlook on life, just look the other way. They can’t deny it but they can’t bring themselves to accept it either because the implications of that would be too shattering for them. Of course, many people react to the good news of a spiritual reality with joy, as indeed they should, but there are others who react with fear because they would have to question everything about themselves; their beliefs, their thoughts and their actions. What is more, they are now answerable to something beyond themselves and that makes them very uncomfortable.

The only other person we told was an old friend of Michael’s who had taken an interest in us, but she also decided that what was happening was something other than what we had said. She didn’t disbelieve us but she didn’t believe us either, and since that time when I have mentioned the Masters to people who are not spiritually receptive, that has been the commonest reaction.

The main reason I did not speak of the Masters when they were still in direct contact with me is that it would have seemed vulgar to do so. What do I mean by that? This was not a common experience, I think I can safely say that, and to talk about it when it was going on would have been to draw attention to myself and therefore demean both the experience and the Masters. It would even have treated them as though they were somehow my possession. In effect, it would have cheapened something sacred. To talk about them now is to do their work. To have done so while they were still speaking to me (unless they had requested me to do so which they didn’t) would have been like exposing the mysteries, and you don’t do that. There’s nothing exclusive in that attitude, and sometimes it’s right to expose the mysteries, after all that’s exactly what the Buddha did in his teachings and Jesus did in his person, but the point of the mysteries is that they are mysteries, and, generally speaking, you only come to them when you are ready for them.

That’s why I didn’t speak of the Masters or mention them in the book I wrote when Michael was still alive and they were still talking directly to me. As for why I did not write the book I did before I did, I would guess that to be a question of readiness. The Masters have their purposes and we must hold ourselves receptive to their requirements if we would serve them. I was strongly impressed to write a book literally one day from out of the blue, and I started that very day, knowing that it had to be done and it was actually not possible not to do it, such was the forcefulness of the impression. I didn’t know how it could be done because I couldn’t see how I would find the time to do it, but a change in circumstances meant that time was found.

For some people it might seem wrong that, in writing about spiritual matters, I include things of a personal nature but they are not included for personal reasons. I talk about my experience with the Masters to draw attention to the Masters. I have had this experience and I have to share it. That is the main purpose of my efforts. It’s time that the fact of such beings was better and more widely known, better known because their reputation has been somewhat tarnished by false and misguided representations, and more widely known because they are still much more obscure than they should be, even to spiritual aspirants.

I also consider that the description of spiritual training as given to me by the Masters contains general relevance and practical help of a universal nature. Finally, I hope that, by combining elements of theory, practice and personal history in the book and on the blog, readers are given a fuller insight into the spiritual process and may be inspired to pursue their own journey with renewed enthusiasm. Planet Earth is sailing through very rough waters at the moment. It needs as many people as possible to dedicate themselves to the spiritual path and to do so in the right way. There is as much false and misconceived spirituality about today as there is atheism and materialism. Attune yourself to the vibration of the Masters, dedicate yourself to their service, and you will be enabled to see through illusion and play your part in dispelling that darkness.

Friday 12 July 2013

What Do You Do If You Have No Teacher?

This question didn't arise directly from the previous post but is one I was recently asked and has much in common with it so makes a good follow-up to that post. I would imagine that the query concerns many of us in these times when there is probably greater interest in the spiritual path than ever before but the problem of finding a good teacher is no easier than it has ever been, especially if, as is the case for most of us, we cannot just drop everything and retreat to an ashram. As a matter of fact, I believe one of the challenges facing the modern disciple is to lead a spiritual life whilst fully immersed in the world. No doubt many of us have experienced monastic lives in the past but must now express what we learnt then in everyday existence in order to progress. That is why, for some people, to go into a monastery is actually to step back and repeat past lessons. These people may find initial peace and contentment in their lives but that could just mean that it is the desires of the lower self that are being satisfied, and it is likely they will feel increasing frustration and discontent as their higher self attempts to push them back onto their proper life path. We're not in this world to find peace, we're here to learn. Hence the suffering of the saints.

I don't usually like to talk about the Piscean and Aquarian ages as I consider there's a lot of fantasy and speculation where these are concerned. I would also be talking about something that I don't know for myself so would merely be passing on received opinion which is not the purpose of this blog. However cycles do exist and monasteries and the secluded life are associated with Pisces much more than Aquarius which tends to be an outgoing sign that looks to be involved in the world. This is quite possibly why the focus for many seekers has shifted somewhat over the last hundred years or so. We must be in the world though not of it thereby demonstrating our ability to retain a spiritual connection under all conditions, and also play our part in bringing matter under the sway of spirit. It is very clear that's not where it is at the moment. Having said that, we all have our individual paths so, as always, each one of us should be guided by what our heart tells us - making sure that it is our heart talking and not personal predilection.

Here's the question.

Q. What are the basic rules for leading a spiritual life if you cannot go into a monastery and don’t have a guru? How do you follow a spiritual practice on your own? I meditate every day and have done for five years but don’t really feel I am getting anywhere.

A.  First of all, regarding getting anywhere. We’re probably the last to be able to judge our own spiritual progress. Don’t worry about getting anywhere, just continue your path, letting go of attachments and keeping the Creator in the forefront of your mind. Spiritual practice is not complicated but it does require wholeheartedness, sincerity and love of God. If you have these then you have nothing to worry about. If you don’t yet have them, strive to acquire them through meditation and prayer, both of which are important as the one deepens our awareness of the soul while the other brings us closer to God. You could say that meditation leads us to God Immanent and prayer to God Transcendent. Both are necessary parts of a properly integrated approach to the divine.

Spiritual progress is not measured by visions or experiences but by equanimity in the face of hardship, and persistence during barren spells when nothing seems to be happening and you might even doubt that there is anything to happen. It is measured in little advances that you may not even notice not in dramatic leaps forward.

If you don’t have a guru, seek the guru within and look for him in the experiences that come to you in the normal course of events. Inner guidance is the higher form of guidance, and our life lessons come to us as part of ordinary existence. We just have to be open to them and know the right way to respond to them. If you are destined to have an outer teacher you will find one at the correct time. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bother looking if the inner urge is there but I can tell you that I found my teachers quite by chance, or so it appeared, and it came at the time I was ready to benefit from their instruction.

The basic rules of spirituality are to love God, not to be attached to things of this world, to seek truth in stillness and to abandon self-will. Or, to put it in a single phrase, to see yourself as the spiritual soul rather than the earthly personality. That's really all there is to it but because these things go completely counter to our natural inclinations, which are to love self, to seek to accumulate (possessions, knowledge, praise, power), to pursue temporal happiness and to identify ourselves with our thoughts and desires, they are a good deal easier to understand than to put into practice. Nevertheless you should know that no teacher can tell you much more than this in general terms though he may, of course, be able to pinpoint precise areas of weakness as well as bring out psychological flaws that keep you from treading the path to your full potential.

So, if you haven't yet found a teacher in the outer world you have to be ruthlessly honest with yourself and not hide from the reality of what you, the unredeemed lower self you, are. You must examine your heart, confess your desires and admit your fears, and then subject these to the light of divine reality which, if you do this correctly, will start to burn them up.  At the same time, rest assured that you do have a teacher on the inner planes who watches over you. This teacher is the gardener of your soul; his job, to uproot the weeds of worldliness that constrict the growth of the delicate shoots of spiritual awakening. Try to make contact with him in moments of quietness and become sensitive to his impression. He will lead you forward and may, if and when he deems it necessary, bring you to a teacher in the outer world. Until then the best advice I can give is the advice I was given in the last talk I had from the Masters.

Trust your intuition. Have faith, courage and carry on.

Friday 5 July 2013

How Do You Do It?

A plaintive cry often heard from those who investigate the kind of spiritual teachings loosely grouped together under the heading of non-dualistic is "I understand what is being said but how do you do it? How do you get from here to there when there seems to be no common ground or connecting link between two states which are of a totally different order of reality?" In this post I am going to answer that question but I must say at the outset that the answer may seem disappointingly mundane. It will be the right answer though.

I must begin, however, by saying that actually this is the wrong question and, if you ask it, you may have set out on your journey facing backwards. That's because such a question implies an aim from the goal-seeking separate self and that, spiritually speaking, is a contradiction in terms hence self-defeating. Therefore the first thing anyone embarking on the path should do is examine their reasons for wanting to do so. In the spiritual world why you act as you do is usually more important than what you do so right motive is critical. As a Master said (his words were used in a different context but are equally applicable here), sometimes it is the will and not the action that counts. You do not advance on the spiritual path because you are able to perform certain difficult exercises effectively nor because of your personal achievements or accomplishments or even insights. Nor yet because of any esoteric knowledge or mind control. No, the prime requisite for spiritual progress is spotlessness of heart. You pursue the path because you long for the Eternal which you recognise as the source and ground of your true being. You do not take to it because of a desire for growth. It is only love for something you acknowledge as being much bigger than yourself that can propel you forwards. Call it God, call it Truth, call it what you like but know that without this intense aspiration towards the divine for its own sake you will not get far.

Now, inevitably our motives will be mixed when we set out on our journey. That is quite normal, indeed unavoidable. But there must be an element at least of 'deep calling unto deep' because this is the only fuel that will give us lift off from Earth. God in us must be calling to God 'out there', and if we lack this pure aspiration we must admit that to be the case and pray for it to be planted in our heart. This is the awakening of the soul without which there is little point in engaging in spiritual exercises.

Here is a list of instructions on how to follow the spiritual path. They are mostly culled from the words of the Masters who spoke to me though these are in no way different to traditional spiritual teachings. The list is not exhaustive but it is sufficient and if you carry these instructions out diligently you will approach your goal. After how long I cannot say and it doesn't matter. The point is, follow these instructions until they are second nature to you and you will forget about your goal. Only when you have forgotten your goal can you begin to come close to it.

Look for God in all things. He is there but you must look behind outer appearance. The Masters told me to regard all people as manifestations of the divine. That is not easy but if we believe that God dwells within us then we must accept that He dwells within everybody else too. Dormant as regards expression, certainly, but the divine light burns within us all. It is our life. Look for it and you may even help to bring it out. Do not make the mistake of regarding the outer person as divine but try to see God in all things and everywhere. The very attempt to do this will change perception and changing perception is what spirituality is all about.

Remember the Creator. Practise the presence of God constantly. Use your imagination to do this while making sure to distinguish between true imagination and wishful thinking or fancy. Imagination is real. Fancy is fantasy. How do you tell the difference between the two? You test using the mind in the heart as your yardstick. I appreciate this might seem a touch vague but constant practice will bring clarity. Remember the Creator through striving to maintain an ongoing awareness of Him, and also through prayer which is the unlocking of the mind that renders it susceptible to higher influences. Try to make your whole life a prayer in the sense of a flower opening up its petals to receive the sunlight.

Be simple. As the Masters say, spiritual truth is simple but it is easy to get lost in philosophical speculations which lead nowhere. Truth is found in the heart not the head.

Form attachments to nothing in this world up to and including your spiritual practice, inner peace and ideas about God. These can all be taken away from you and probably will.

Be unswayed by happiness and suffering, not seeking the one or rejecting the other. Keep an even keel at all times. Have inner poise. The right way is always the middle way.

Have complete acceptance of circumstances and situations in life. Do not resist or react. Resistance and reaction arise from the ego with its likes and dislikes but note that this refers to an inner attitude. Outer behaviour will depend on the needs of the moment.

Do not dwell on the past or anticipate the future. Live from moment to moment. The present moment is all there ever is so try to give it your full attention.

Maintain both inner and outer purity. Purity is required for receptivity to the Divine. Keep your mind free of separative thoughts and your emotions attuned to the vibration of the higher worlds where nothing that does not correspond to those worlds can enter. Act as though you were at all times in the Master's presence because you are. 'We are closer to you than your skin'. At the same time, do not shrink from or disdain what you might regard as impure and profane for you are endeavouring to see all life as one.

Remember that spirituality comes from service and sacrifice. Be alert for opportunity. Cultivate the attitude of I am not the Doer. It is not you who acts but God in you. Of course, that doesn't mean that if you act in an ungodly way you are not responsible for your actions.

Work! Avoid apathy! Apathy, so the Masters informed me, is the besetting sin of spiritual people. It's all too easy for a sensitive nature to retreat into a sort of nebulous 'spirituality' when confronted by the coldness of this world but that won't get us anywhere. A spiritual person is not somebody who believes in spiritual things but somebody who dedicates him or herself to the uprooting of the ego, and that requires serious, hard work. The dragon must be slain. It won't just lie down and go to sleep by itself.

As I warned at the beginning of this post these precepts might sound disappointingly mundane but there is no magical key or hidden teaching that can take you beyond yourself just on its own. Your task is to know yourself for what you truly are and this you can only do by detaching yourself from identification with what you are not, which is the mind. For this, these instructions will certainly help. However, so firmly are we locked into the idea of separation, that such a task is, humanly speaking, impossible and that is why, in the final analysis, even the most diligent spiritual practice can only bring us to a certain point on the path. To go further, to reach its conclusion, we are dependent on divine grace. We can till, water and tend the soil but the flower can only blossom and bloom when touched by the light of the sun.