Friday 29 December 2017

God is Love and Love is God

Have you noticed that with every year that goes by what were regarded as perfectly normal, indeed healthy, attitudes are becoming tarred with the brush of extremism, and possessing them is seen as the sign of a bad person? I am speaking of such things as love of country, upholding the truth of the natural, proper recognition of the difference between men and women, maintaining of spiritual values and appreciation that some cultures really are better, in an objective sense, than others. All these things would have been believed by every civilized, educated person until relatively recently. Now, none of them are, or none of them are supposed to be. They belong to the old, unenlightened, prejudiced age and must be swept away in the light of the 'higher truth' that humanity is one, and every single unit of it (except presumably the ones that don't believe this) is fully equal to every other one.

In saying this I am obviously not denying that, spiritually speaking, we are all valuable in the eyes of God, and, as growing souls, all equally valuable. In the Christian understanding, a king has no more spiritual worth than the lowest of his servants. He may have but that is not on account of his crown. By the same token, the servant may be spiritually greater than the king, and higher in the kingdom of heaven. In spiritual terms, we are all one in Christ but only when we have all accepted Christ. Only when we have, in full understanding and real contrition, repented of our worldly transgressions and turned to God.

But the spiritual fact that we are all one in Christ does not negate the fact that as souls we are all different (that's the whole point of individuality which is the purpose of creation), and where there is difference there is inequality. That is why the ancients depicted life as a chain of being or a ladder. There is one ladder but it has many rungs stretching from Earth to Heaven, and there are creatures on every rung, those at higher levels being closer to God. Would you say the average sincere believer is spiritually equivalent to a saint? Is a saint equivalent to Christ? Of course not (though the potential to grow is always there), and yet they are all one in God.

The modern view is that it is wrong to love the local and the particular unless, that is, the local and the particular is regarded as having been oppressed in recent times. We are enjoined to love humanity rather than particular expressions of it. But the reality of our nature is that we cannot love the general without first loving the particular. Only he who loves individual human beings, particular men and women, can really love humanity. But if you love particular people then you value some more than others. You cannot love everyone equally. Even Jesus had his favourite disciple.

Similarly with nations. The man who doesn't love his own country cannot love anything. If you are a citizen of the world, you don't love anything. You have an ideology, and ideologies are not built on love. They are built on theory. Indeed, when you scratch beneath the surface you often find that many modern ideologies are actually built on hatred. Hatred of truth and the good. Resentment of the reality of God and the fact of Christ. I know that they are not depicted like this and, quite probably, adherents of these ideologies would not even recognize themselves in that description, but it becoming ever clearer to me that those who reject spiritual truth do so because of an unacknowledged hatred within themselves. Ultimately there are but two forces in the universe, love and hate. Of course, ultimately there is only one which is love, but in our fallen corner of it there is love and rejection of love, and love means first and foremost love of God. If there is no love of God then there is rejection of love even if the rejecter proclaims himself to be acting from love, love of humanity being a prime candidate to justify the rejection of God. But you cannot love humanity if you do not love God because the only source of love is in God and if you have love within you then you must acknowledge the higher power that is its source. If you don't acknowledge, as in recognize, the source of love that means that what you are calling love is not the real thing but some interpretation you have conjured up of it. I repeat. If you have love within you then you must see the truth of God. If you don't see the truth of God then you do not have proper love within you. God is love.

There is no general theme to this post. It's one of my occasional efforts in which I just start writing with no clear idea of what I want to say and see where I go. But if I were to extract a theme, it would be this. We live in a world without love that pretends it acts from love. We are utter fakes and will remain so until we rediscover the truth and reality of God. There is no truth without God, no truth and no love. As long as we deny him, we live a lie and we have no love. God is love and love is God. You cannot have one without the other.

Thursday 28 December 2017

A Bad Bargain - Our Spiritual Destruction

I've put a polemical piece on Albion Awakening. It may seem a bit over the top but I wrote it all in one go without a pause, and that's how it came out.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Everything Passes

Last week I walked through a park where I used to play with my children when they were young. We played football and fed the ducks, and generally mucked about having fun, before going home for tea. We moved away from that area about 5 years ago and my children would not want to feed the ducks now or even play football with me. I'm not sure they would want to do much with me at all anymore! All parents will know the feeling. I felt rather sad at times gone, never to return. The surroundings suddenly seemed grey and gloomy.

But then I realised I was just indulging myself. Everything passes. I thought back to my parents and how I had lost interest in doing things with them as a teenager. It never crossed my mind that they might have missed the child I was as that was replaced by a sulky adolescent. They were just there to cater to my requirements. Well, the boot's on the other foot now!

This is life, isn't it? Certain periods are happy, most not particularly so. We cling to happy times but we can't retain them, and, if time did stop still at those moments, we would see them to be fairly ordinary after all. They would certainly become boring if they didn't change. 

Children grow and grow up and leave home. If you're lucky you can keep a good relationship with them but there are so many pressures now that is perhaps harder than it was. Ultimately everything passes. God alone remains. He is the one ever faithful, ever true, ever real fact. He doesn't change and he is always there. All human relationships change even if they are solid. But God alone endures. When all is said and done, that is the only thing we can depend on.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Tests, Trials and Tribulations

When a person reaches a certain stage on the spiritual path, that person is going to be tested. Those who think that once you decide to follow a spiritual course your life will be full of love, peace and joy have little idea of the reality of things. The point of spirituality is not to make the lower, earthly self happy but to burn out the fires of ego, and that is not a pleasant operation. So, true spirituality is putting yourself in God's hands and letting him do what he wants with you in the certain knowledge that what he wants is the good of your soul, and that might include temporary and short term suffering. Actually, I can go further. It definitely will include that. Moreover, the further you proceed in real spirituality, the more suffering you are likely to encounter. This can be physical, some of the saints have endured dreadful ill health, but it is perhaps more likely to be mental and take a form that those still ensnared in this world simply can't understand. All this is designed to extract you from attachments to your own selfish egotism. And don't most of us take to spirituality for, at least partially, selfish motives?

As we progress along the path, our integrity is tested. False motivations are brought out and must be jettisoned. Our goals are questioned and we are asked whether we can sacrifice personal happiness for love. It would be nice if we could be sure that this was what was happening when it was happening but often we are kept completely in the dark. God is not there when we call on him. Any spiritually pleasant feelings of expansion we may have experienced at one time are cut off. We are thrown back on ourself with no outer or inner support at all. We must just press on in faith, and hope that one day the clouds will clear. Which they will but there's no telling when. It is a bit like Frodo and Sam going across the wastes of Mordor to Mount Doom.

This is all part of the test we must undergo to become spiritually perfect. Just think about that phrase for a moment. Spiritually perfect. That is our goal. Could it possibly be an easy thing of accomplishment? It must be the hardest thing there is because it is the crowning achievement of any human being in this world. It really does require the sacrifice of the earthly self, and that is never going to be a simple matter. It wasn't for the saints, and it won't be for us.

But there is something else over and above this spiritual testing. The Masters told me that the further anyone goes on the spiritual path, the more they will be attacked by dark forces, and I have definitely observed this to be so. It takes various forms. It can be internal attack as these powers seek to gain purchase in your mind by influencing your thoughts and feelings in certain directions. Or it can be external when you find yourself under attack by people you know, people you might come into contact with or even people with whom you might be close.

Now, it's very important to be sensible about this, to maintain a sense of proportion and avoid feelings of paranoia, thinking that anyone who disagrees with you is being manipulated by dark forces. You might be the one in the wrong! Nevertheless, it is the case that often those who are doing God's work in some way, or even just striving to live a life in accordance with spiritual truth, are attacked and undermined by others. These people may have their own agenda but they might also be taken advantage of by the demons though, of course, this would not be possible if the demons were not able to find a point of entrance in the person's soul through which they could gain access. They can only work with what is already there.

Some of the forms that attacks commonly take are unjust accusations and lies about your moral character.  These can often be very cunningly delivered with truth twisted just enough to make them almost plausible. Chinks in your armour are constantly sought, and faults you may actually possess are exaggerated and given excessive emphasis. It's as though darkness hates light and wants to drag it down to its own level which it does by accusing it of its own faults. The well-known phenomenon of projection is often in evidence in which the accuser berates the accused for behaving in the way that it, the accuser, is behaving. The devil has a serpentine mind and twists and turns in a manner that can be quite confusing to a spiritual person, who, generally speaking, is someone who leans towards simplicity. That's because truth is simple. It's truth, and that's all there is to it. But lies are always devious, and the devil is a particularly skilled liar and distorter. Those he influences behave in the same way.

What's the best way to defend yourself against this kind of attack? If possible, break off contact with the person, but if that is not possible, try not to respond in kind. That's what the dark powers want. They want to drag you down. It may be that you have some kind of spiritual connection to the person who attacks you and it is your task to experience this and see it out. Those who believe in reincarnation might see this as a karmic thing, but even those who don't should be able to see that even this form of attack can be an opportunity for you to learn to rise above the abuse and miscomprehension of this world. God might even use unjust attacks on you as a means of teaching you non-reaction and detachment. It's easy to get indignant if you are unjustly abused or your good name is tarnished but you have to learn that God sees the truth and that's all that matters. If you are a villain in the eyes of the world what does that matter if God knows the reality? Ultimately, the desire to be thought well of comes from the ego. It may be that you have to learn to let go of everything including what past generations would have called your honour.

Tests and trials are all part of the spiritual life. We must be prepared for them and not be surprised if we are attacked by anti-spiritual forces sworn to an agenda of destruction.

Monday 18 December 2017

Albion Awakening Book List

Over on Albion Awakening I've put up some suggestions for a reading list of works with a bearing on the theme of that blog, some loosely connected, some more directly. I'd welcome any other ideas.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Spirit and Matter

At various places in this blog I have talked about spirit and matter but not really defined these words in any way. I actually rather like not defining them as a definition limits them in a way that leaving their interpretation open to the imagination does not. For we all understand, or should do, what spirit and matter are even if we cannot plumb the depths of what they are. We sense that each describes a very different aspect of life. That, roughly speaking, spirit is life and matter the garb spirit takes to express itself. An intellectual analysis can certainly elucidate that basic idea to a degree but it can also unnecessarily complicate it, and, worse, lock one up in theory which is self-defeating since mind, a material thing insofar as thought is expressed in form, can never comprehend spirit which is intuited or known directly. The annals of philosophy are full of highly intelligent people picking over the bones of a corpse. But still we are intellectual beings so one should make some attempt to expand on a basic definition while stressing that words can obscure the truth as much as they can help to uncover it.

I am regarding spirit as the essence of life and matter as the substance through which that essence manifests itself. The inner and outer components of being. But while the modern world accepts matter as the stuff of which we are made (though it's getting harder and harder to know exactly what that is), it denies spirit, regarding it, if existing at all, as arising from material forces. This is the basis of materialism, that matter comes before consciousness which is secondary. Naturally I disagree with that. Of course, I do. It's wrong! So, what is spirit?

One way to think of spirit is as the energy of pure being which animates otherwise inert matter thus enabling the one to become many, and the whole universe of becoming, change, time, space and so on to appear. But the word “energy” can mislead for spirit is not some impersonal force like a cosmic gas spread throughout the universe, and I doubt could have been conceived of as such before the rise of materialistic science which effectively transposed its concepts onto the spiritual plane. Spirit is fully and gloriously personal, though it may have a non-personal aspect. For it is life and life is consciousness and consciousness requires one who is conscious. I AM implies an I. And an I implies a Mind.

So spirit and matter are the basic duality of creation. They are expressed as life and form, subject and object, God and Nature and so on. This doesn't mean there is an irresolvable duality at the heart of existence for ultimately these two are one. Whether you regard things theistically or not the position is the same. Either matter is an aspect of spirit projected out as the vehicle for its manifestation or God creates matter from nothing as the fundamental stuff from which he then forms everything else.  Whichever way you look at it, matter either comes from spirit or is a part of it. But it is different to it as that which receives is different to that which gives. It is its complementary opposite in manifestation which is necessarily dualistic or nothing could be at all. Perfect oneness would be little different to perfect noneness.

Spirit and matter are the two poles of existence required for existence to be known. Matter is the mirror in which God is enabled to see his face and, as creation, it becomes his bride. Spirit is what gives life to matter, and the two combine to bring about all that is with spirit working through matter, which includes time and space, to carry life onwards to unimaginable glories of ever greater truth and beauty, making the one many and the many more and more perfect individualised manifestations of the one. Without spirit, matter is dead. Without matter, spirit remains in darkness and alone, unable to see its face or express itself. They are two but they are also one and through their interaction the universe is born. 

That is on the macrocosmic level. On the microcosmic level our task to render the material portion of our being ever more receptive to the spiritual which we do through the purification of mind and body, and the turning of our consciousness both inwards and upwards, not quite the same thing and both necessary. We have to transfer our attention from the phenomenal world and its contents to the spiritual one, and the priorities of the latter must become ours. It is a mistake to give too much attention to matter. It is, after all, not meant to be the primary partner in the relationship. But it is also a mistake to reject or ignore or downgrade it in any way since life is a relationship to which both partners contribute just as both do to a dance. The expression of life in matter is the expression of love.

Spirit is the light and life of creation and matter its substance and foundation. From their union comes soul which gives being its quality.