Wednesday 25 November 2015


We live today in a world of almost complete illusion. I am not referring here to the concept of maya as understood in Indian philosophy. That is simply mistaking appearance for reality and has always existed. It is part of being in this world and not seeing that the outer (the measurable) derives from the inner (that which is beyond the senses), having no substantive reality in itself. Maya is connected to Nature (Nature is the Mother and maya is certainly feminine) and, in itself, entirely natural even if illusionary when regarded as fundamental.

But, no, that is not what I mean at all. The illusion we live in today is far more destructive of truth than that for it does not involve mistaking the natural for the real, but has to do with the greater error of failing to distinguish sufficiently between the artificial and the natural. In a physical sense alone, most of us live our lives in a totally artificial environment, surrounded by and dependent on machines. Of course, we still appreciate the natural world but that is not the environment in which most of us live or really have very much to do with. I am not saying that we should all go back to live in caves but a line can be crossed when the disconnect between natural and artificial becomes too weighted in favour of the latter, and then there is a price to be paid. The trouble is that by that point we are usually too much in thrall to the artificial to even notice. I would submit that that line has been crossed, and we are leaving it ever further behind.

But even this is not the truly important issue. The more complete illusion lies in the realm of thought. It is here, in our ideas about ourselves and the world, that the problem really lies. Once we close our minds to metaphysical truth, the so called vertical pole of reality, once we deny our divine origins, we literally enter into a thought world of complete ignorance, and everything we then believe and think is founded on unreality. Today we see the results of this in every sphere. Let me list a few.

In religion, or what has become of it, void of spirit and mystery and lacking any sense of God as a living reality, the living reality: simply reduced, for the most part, to a form of humanism that is more concerned with this world than the next.  Even most modern spirituality seems more concerned with what its participants get out of it in emotional and personal fulfilment than in acquiring real holiness of character or displaying devotion for the Creator.

In science which, despite claims of objectivity, has been perverted by an atheistic and materialistic agenda, now so all-pervasive that it is largely unrecognised. Indeed, the very idea of knowledge is fundamentally misunderstood by modern science for it is increasingly seen as having a utilitarian function alone, being but a means to reshape the world according to our desires with no notion of what is really real or understanding that knowledge of the material world is actually the lowest form of knowledge; only truly meaningful when placed in a hierarchical context with knowledge of God sitting at the apex and known to be the one true knowledge, in the light of which all other knowledge must be seen.

In politics where, on the one hand, a horizontal and rigidly enforced egalitarianism has completely supplanted any idea of a natural hierarchy inherent in God and Nature (as the Masters said 'men are by no means equal on the Earth plane'), while, on the other, all non-financial considerations are sacrificed to the idea of the economy, otherwise known as Mammon. We are more concerned with equality than quality, and a nation’s economic success is the yardstick by which it is not only judged but judges itself.

In art, no longer devoted to the pursuit of the good, the beautiful and the true but preoccupied now, according to whether it is deemed 'high' or 'low', with the popular, the challenging and the novel. No longer interested in penetrating the veil between this world and the next, and bringing something of the next world into this one, but focused instead on the exploration and even celebration of the enclosed and earthbound little self.

In morality, now reduced to treating everybody equally and permitting anything that does not actually harm (or appear to as far as we know) anyone else. Gone is the traditional sense of obligation to and reverence for our Creator. Gone is the idea that we have a soul that can be harmed by actions, and even thoughts, which are counter to truth as it exists on the spiritual plane which, if acknowledged at all, is viewed as barely more than an extension of this world. Instead of an understanding that a proper morality must be directed towards a spiritual end, and seen in the context of the reality of God, what we have instead is one that takes the advancement of human happiness and the reduction of suffering in this world as its sole goal.

And in the relation between the sexes which, properly managed, is the bedrock of all civilisation but which maladjusted, with its complementary nature rejected, leads to disharmony and confusion throughout society. Tragically for both sexes, not to mention children, this relation is now in the process of being deconstructed and remade according to a godless and materialistic ideology.

I am not saying that things were better in the past. Some things may have been, many very obviously were not. But that is not the point. This has always been a fallen world. Previously, however, the way beyond its limitations and boundaries were known to everybody and clearly marked out. The lustre from the higher worlds illuminated, however dimly, art, philosophy and even the everyday beliefs of the ordinary person, educated or not. Now the gates appear to have been closed. The prison doors are shut. In fact, we no longer even realise we are in a prison. We take it as the normal and true state, and that is the problem.

I return to the saying of Jesus I have quoted several times in this pages. "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?" This is the Faustian pact we appear to have made, and it is the cause of the illusion in which we live. The simple denial of transcendence, which is a denial of reality, means that we are wrong in every single area of life. Of course, many people might accept transcendence and still labour under an illusion as to its nature and their relationship to it. See Christian fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists. See also many psychics, occultists and others who seek to exploit God for their personal benefit. But that is a different matter. The prevailing world view, the one which forms our world and in which our children are educated and brought up, denies the reality of God. And when you deny truth, you inevitably live in illusion.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

If God is everywhere then why can't we perceive Him?

This is an interesting question in that it expresses something that can be a stumbling block for many people who would like to believe in God but cannot for they don't see why the reality of God would be obscured, should such a being exist. Why would his existence not be blazingly apparent? This is true whether one conceives of divine reality as personal or impersonal or, as must surely be the case, as something that includes but goes beyond both of these human perceptions which may reflect truth to some degree but are still limited.

Q. If God is everywhere why can't we perceive him? I don't mean see him as an object out there, of course, but why can't we at least feel him or sense some kind of spiritual presence?

A. There is an idea that for God to create he had to withdraw himself from part of himself. He is the all. There is nothing other than him. So, in order to create something other than himself (and a creation is necessarily that), he has to make a space in which that can happen. Thus he has to withdraw his presence (figuratively speaking) from a part of reality, the part in which creation may then take place. This is the void or nihil in which creation happens and the universe arises. Now, when God creates he is again present as he must be in his creation because there is nothing apart from him, and if he were not present in anything it would instantly cease to be and go back to the nothingness it was before he willed it into existence. But he is not present in the same way as he was before he withdrew the totality of his being. He is there as the substratum of existence, this is his immanence, but his transcendent being remains outside the creation. This may help explain why, to our currently limited awareness, there is always a feeling of absence. And yet this absence is necessary for us to grow into properly self-conscious individuals. If full awareness of our divine parent were always there, we would never become independent and free which is the point of our creation. We must be alone, or seem to be alone, for that to happen. Only through separation can we reach completion, that is to say, knowledge of completion.

This is part of the answer to your question but I believe there is more to it than the basic mechanics of creation. The Fall, whether seen as a necessary factor in evolution or an error on the part of infant humanity deceived by an anti-spiritual force, is that moment when we cut ourselves off from our divine source. Before then we walked in the presence of God. Afterwards that presence was lost. It was lost because we separated ourselves out from the rest of life. We could no longer sense God's presence because, by identifying ourselves with our selves, we withdrew from him. So it is not that we can't see him because he is not there. Rather we can't see him because we have blinded ourselves.

I agree with the story of how human beings lost their connection to the divine as it is presented in the book of Genesis. So I think the reason this happened was the result of error, though whether that error was in some way intended, never mind foreseen, is not something I want to go into here. What I would say is that self-consciousness, which is an important part of the process that brings a newly created spark of individualised spirit to authentic godhood, could surely have awoken and proceeded on its way without the full descent of the Fall, but we slipped into identification with matter and the concomitant spiritual darkness, sin and illusion because of our disobedience and resistance to truth. We preferred the way of our own will to that of submission to the will of God which only means coordinating our being to truth since God is truth. But we preferred the fluctuating relativism of our own point of view about reality to reality itself because we wanted to possess it instead of be possessed by it. This has reached a critical point today when all traditional restraints (in the form of revealed religion) have been removed and we rely solely on our own knowledge and experience, necessarily always limited, for understanding the world and ourselves. The only way back is through spiritual obedience and openness to truth. But how many of us today are really willing to put aside our prejudices and opinions and submit to truth as it really is, always unfashionable and accessible only to those who are able to become as a child? Which, by the way, does not mean someone who throws aside discrimination and common sense but someone prepared to be humble, accepting and trustful of legitimate authority while, at the same time, retaining proper discernment and  responsibility for himself.

Whatever the implications of the Fall there is another reason why we are not given the full revelation of the existence of God so that all doubters would be silenced, and it has to do with spiritual development. Think of the matter like this. If the reality of God were beyond dispute we would all be inspired to become saints, wouldn't we? Our hearts would naturally incline us to goodness and truth in the light of such a revelation. But is that really the case? Unfortunately I don't believe it is. Such is fallen human nature it is by no means certain that outer knowledge would bring about inner change. Change, as in true transformation, must come from within if it is to go all the way down and not just be like a dye that only stains the surface. That is why there is just enough evidence for God to support those who are faithfully looking for him, but not enough to convince those who want to deny his existence. Ultimately the choice is ours which is why it is correctly said that faith is a matter of will rather than intellect. If we turn to God without being compelled to do so because of irrefutable evidence it is because we want to do so which means we are allowing God to be born within us. In a way we are becoming godlike ourselves, or, at least, beginning to. This means that God can, if we continue to cooperate and not arrest the process by the ego trying to take it over, start to effect spiritual change from within. God is like a seed that must be planted deep in the heart itself if it is to grow effectively. He cannot just be grafted on from without. For the whole being to be transformed the process must start from within.

With regard to your question, it is now widely considered that early humanity did have a sense of spiritual presence but it was fairly rudimentary and certainly did not include full participation in divine being. There was no creativity, no love and no real intelligence. It was, if you like, passive not active, instinctive but not fully conscious We had to lose that connection to oneness and know separation in order to regain the awareness of oneness but this time with complete knowledge of ourselves added. This is the journey from pre-lapsarian Adam in the Garden of Eden to the risen Son of God who inherits the Kingdom of Heaven.

And so, to sum up, I would say that there are two reasons for us not being able to perceive the reality of God. One, the legitimate, is that we need to be distanced from the spiritual centre in order to develop a real self-consciousness. This is what you might call the result of a natural evolution. Like the prodigal son we then have to return carrying the fruits of our experiences. But the other reason is self-inflicted, and it is that we have withdrawn ourselves from God by identifying with the separate self. We have rebelled and rejected God. This is the Fall, and it is this we must address in ourselves in order to begin the homeward journey and that, I'm afraid to say, is something we can only do through acceptance of sin and repentance. These are old-fashioned terms I know, but if they have unpleasant connotations for you, ask yourself why. The fact of the matter is that we all have a fallen self, and it is this self that blinds us to the reality of God.

Having written all the above, there is one last point I would like to make. It is this. Why do you assume that we cannot perceive God? Is he not plainly present in the beauty and order of nature and the universe, if you look with unprejudiced eyes? Does he not speak to you through the voice of conscience?  And is not the desire for God, a desire that all men have always had, indicative that he is there? For just as there could be no eyes without light so there can be no desire for God if God does not exist.