Sunday, 25 March 2018

More on the Masters

I've not written anything about the Masters for a while and, since drawing attention to their existence was the original purpose of this blog and its parent book, I will remedy that now with some thoughts on what they are not. This might seem a strange way to approach the subject but some of the problems preventing a wider acceptance of such beings among serious spiritual seekers come about because of the travesties and simplifications that have been associated with their name over the last century or so. I wrote about this a bit in the book but it's an important matter so I would like to consider the question at further length here.

There are a number of individuals and groups claiming contact with elevated supernatural beings whom they may or may not designate as Masters. But practically always these beings speak from a vaguely New Age kind of perspective and that the Masters who spoke to me never did. Their teachings, and they themselves, demonstrated the best of tradition but carried forward into (I consider) a higher form suitable for the current time in which the spiritual goal is to know God within while, at the same time, being fully aware of his transcendent reality. That is to say, to take the steps required for full divinisation of the soul which was never denied as in some Eastern religions but regarded as something like a seed planted in matter that could eventually grow into full spiritual bloom.

My teachers were not overtly Christian in the way they presented themselves, but their teaching fell solidly into a traditional spiritual pattern. There was no talk of an upcoming Aquarian Age (as so often was the case with psychically received material at the time) and no modernist rationalisations in which a God-centred spirituality is subordinated to humanistic ideals. These teachers were advocates of timeless truth, not in any way aligning themselves with a 20th century mentality under the guise of being up to date. My feeling is that any spiritual communication that accepts or endorses any of the modernist revolutions, sexual, political, cultural and so on, and disruptions to the natural order should be regarded with suspicion. That is not to say that some of these may not be reactions to new impulses raining down on humanity from higher planes but they are usually so distorted that they become parodies of the influence that has inspired them. A prime example would be contemporary leftist beliefs which are clearly materialistic misinterpretations of spiritual impulses. Minds unable or unwilling to comprehend and acknowledge spiritual reality react to its energies on a material level thereby totally distorting its truths. Indeed, worse than that, they increasingly invert these truths by applying them where they have no basis in reality. They treat the material as the spiritual which means the real spiritual is driven out.

Many modern versions of Masters are derived from Theosophy which means either Madame Blavatsky or her successors Charles Leadbetter and Annie Besant who purported to be talking about the same beings as Madame B. but presented them in a very different guise. I don't doubt their sincerity or belief that what they were promoting was true, but I think they were led astray by their psychism in that they (especially Leadbetter) could not distinguish the real from the unreal when it came to what was revealed to them through their psychic powers of clairvoyance, clairaudience and the like. This is a very common problem and accounts for a large number of false claimants to contact with the Masters. In my view no modern Theosophical or Theosophically derived or inspired group is in touch with the true Masters though they may be with their so called astral reflections. To make sense of that phrase we have to understand that the next world has many levels and in these the energy of emotion or thought can create external manifestations of itself. These thought forms can then be built up into apparently real objective things and assume the likeness of a real being which is even able to dispense standard spiritual wisdom though only on the level of those whose energy has fed into it. This is why you never get much that is truly profound out of them.

Groups carrying on in the Theosophical mindset and supposedly in contact with the named Theosophical Masters such as Morya, St Germain etc, are undoubtedly victims of this 'astralitis' or at least their leaders are. Any bona fide energies behind that movement (and I am prepared to believe there may have been such at one time) have definitely withdrawn themselves from it as it descended into a fascination with signs and wonders and lost touch with genuine spirituality.  That's why Krishnamurti rejected it all as shallow and spurious though he went to the other extreme and threw out the idea of Masters altogether just because of false and illusory representations of them. He had the misfortune of being brought up in a spiritual circus and understandably reacted against that though he might have been wiser to sort out the wheat from the chaff since wheat there most certainly is even if there is considerably more chaff as manifested in this world.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I went to a talk by a modern claimant to contact with the Theosophical Masters. Some of what he said made sense but both he and the bulk of the audience were far too focused on occult marvels and the incidence of apparently miraculous events in their lives, either real or imagined. This hearkened back to the sensationalism of an earlier time and is a perennial problem with those drawn to the occult and esoteric. I am reminded that "it is a wicked generation that asks for a sign", though perhaps spiritually immature would be a fairer description. But most of the audience seemed to assume that just because they believed in higher truths they were, in the jargon, initiates, and the person giving the talk clearly thought himself to be such.  Unfortunately, one of the Masters with whom he claimed to be in contact was JMH who features in the books by Cyril Scott and is an obvious invention. Scott's books are a pious fiction and, while he may have had some psychic contact with a Master, his character JMH who dispenses occult wisdom in the polite early 20th century society of London and Boston is a fantasy of his own, a composite from various sources. Of course, this fantasy may have acquired a kind of psychic existence because it was believed in by a number of readers of the books just like Long John Silver or some other popular literary personage might do, and that is what the lecturer would have contacted and maybe communicated with, believing himself to be in touch with a real being. But it was merely a sort of psychic hologram on the astral plane, that world between the physical and the spiritual in which matter is sufficiently fine to be manipulated by thought, a non-physical but still completely phenomenal world. Another explanation would be that some discarnate spirit assumed this identity for its own ends. In neither case would a real Master be involved.

True Masters do not identify themselves with any particular earthly personality. Their sole aim is to teach the truths of the spirit to their disciples. They do not resort to occult or esoteric terminology nor to mystification and nor do they sensationalise in any way. All these things tend to glamorise and direct a pupil's mind away from spiritual truth in its essence to a concern with phenomenal things. In sharp distinction to the false variety, a genuine spiritual Master does not encourage focus on himself but directs it always to God. Perhaps this above all is what marks out the real coin from the counterfeit.


Anonymous said...

Is it possible that a being calling itself 'Master' might be an agent of evil? And, if so, is there a quick way to tell?

William Wildblood said...

It's very possible which is why St John tells us not to believe every spirit but to test them to see whether they are of God. How can you tell? Beyond the obvious things such as the quality of their teachings, it's really down to the intuition.

False spirits are quite capable of giving mainly true teachings but mixing in falsehoods which basically contaminate the whole thing because they lead astray. There is no hard and fast rule but I think that if your heart is in the right place you should be able to tell the difference. Spirits of truth make no extravagant claims about themselves. They do not flatter you and they do not over-complicate. They have a quality of love and wisdom about them which manifests itself with a great dignity. They are slightly remote (though never cold) but that is because of their spiritual nobility which is full of love but not in a sentimental modern way. They make you feel humble and grateful by their presence and they have a great sense of peace about them.

But a spirit falsely presenting itself as a Master need not necessarily be evil. It might just be deluded genuinely thinking itself to be further up the spiritual scale than it is. But this too you should be able to detect if your spiritual antennae are functioning. That's what it's all about really. .

Edwin said...

I read Meeting the Masters with ambivalence: on the one hand, it had the ring of truth; on the other, it seemed to me that giving credence to channeled messages is opening the door to all manner of delusion. St. John of the Cross, in his Ascent of Mount Carmel, advises us not to place our faith in anything short of God. He reasons that whatever extraordinary experiences or communications we have, even if Divinely sent, can easily be misinterpreted, as well as become a source of vanity. He further says that whatever good God wishes to work in the soul can be accomplished without our consent, by which I think he means our interference, for I'm sure he respects free will as the sine qua non of all movement toward God. I accept this advice as sound, although I did not always do so. For several years, I followed an Indian guru who gave shaktipat, a supposed infusion of grace that opened the kundalini and sent the energy upward through the chakras. I did have many amazing experiences and, to this day, cannot sit to meditate or contemplate without being taken over by spontaneous pranayama and mudras, as well as the occurrence of strange mantras. The guru himself, long dead, left a legacy of scandal and abuse and I separated myself from the organization many years ago, but the experiences persist. I don't know what to make of them and have sometimes thought they may be the result of astral forces. Any thoughts? But on the whole, I think St. John gives the safest counsel. Your appeal to the intuition as the final arbiter supposes that one can have a more or less infallible certainty about communications from spiritual masters. I am not sure I have such confidence in intuition, as it can be adulterated with so many desires and imaginings.

William Wildblood said...

I don't blame you for the ambivalence. With something like that which is so open to abuse and deception you have to take that attitude. Anything else would be foolish. But then you have to just use your own judgement to see if its rings true or not. I can't really say any more. The problem is there is so much illusion and falseness out there and I can see why St John of the Cross wrote what he did. But sometimes God really does work through intermediaries and even the Catholic Church accepts that with visions of the Virgin Mary for example. Certainly extraordinary experiences can become temptations and they can be misinterpreted too but does that mean that none of them are real and can be helpful? From my own experience I would clearly say it doesn't but then everyone has to make their own mind up, though I would say if these things come to you then you should not just reject them out of hand. True discernment is vital though. As you say intuition can be overlaid with desires and imaginings but then it's not intuition! Perhaps following false intuition or listening to intuition contaminated with ego teaches us as well. Through experiencing its results we can become more attuned to the real and not make the same mistake next time.

Many Indian gurus it seems to me mistake the occult for the spiritual. Muktananda certainly did. I would try to cleanse yourself of the residue of that experience through prayer and focus on Christ.

Anonymous said...

"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God"

I looked up the verse. Is St John saying that a demon cannot state that Christ came in the flesh?

William Wildblood said...

He appears to be but I have to say I would doubt that. After all why should they not try and pull the wool over your eyes by saying such a thing? They can lie quite happily, can't they! (Not that this is a lie but it's an attempt to deceive.)

Maybe this applied to the early days of Christianity before it had established itself.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

The question that comes to my mind,is who made the master master which took me back to him, that is why as William said, all masters point to god and not to themselves,saying that the evidences, to prove their mastery are given to them by god. It seems the path of contacting the divine spirit is always available to humanity but the false seekers and true seekers are always there also to show that the world of god will never be without them because falsity can not be known without truth as truth can not shine without falsity. It seems we are no longer living under external human jurisdiction. but under the divine self jurisdiction. Every spiritual seeker is in dire need of divine guidance to be sure that what they are pursuing is the correct path and god has decreed upon himself that he will never leave the seekers without guidance. In the Koran we read at the outset of chapter 42 called the counsel The description of the tool for the activation of the inspirational process that reads, Ha Meem Aun Seen gaf, This is the way god have inspired you and those prior to you, the formidable the wise. After mentioning the alphabetical vibratory formation, he said at the end of the chapter and thus we have inspired you through our spirit of command, you would have not known what is the book or what is faith but we made it a light that we use to guide those of our true servant and you do guide to the right path. The unknown reaches us in an unknown manner and the door of intuition is one of his basic tool to ignite the light of the inner human faculties. The mantras of the Hindus ans Buddha which are nothing but an alphabetical intoning formations that are divinely inspired which across the time the humans forgot the original source like our time that deny god and his masters. God never let his words be eclipsed by the perversion mongers, only to eclipse the eclipsers. We are living in a time of epiphany Where the truth of god will shine high to show the beliers and the falsifiers the truth that have been delivered by the masters across the ages and to show them the futility and wrongness of their path. It seems, humans do not learn easily and their skepticism and denial prevent them from acknowledging the true message delivered to them by the masters. The masters who have pointed them to the divine true path, which might push them to mobilize their inner light to see the light of the truth. It is a bewildering spiritual motion that no one can be sure as to what is under their control and what is predetermined and in the final understanding all under his control. Let your will be done lord. The will of truth and justice. it is the best prayer that summarizes the entire religion. Let us be comfortable with the uncomfortable because good and evil are his tools to test the humans, and those who have soaked themselves in luxuries and false power will face the futility and the triviality of the path they have walked.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I was glad to see this further information and reflection on your experience with The Masters - especially as you now look back from a different perspective from that you had at the time. I'd be pleased to see more on these lines, as and when insights come to you.

William Wildblood said...

I've said, Bruce, that the Masters never gave me any kind of metaphysics as such and yet they did by the sort of people they were, if people I can call them! So there was no verbal teaching of a philosophical nature, their words were solely concerned with practical spiritual instruction, but their manner and their approach and their 'vibration' (sorry to use such a word!) all pointed towards a certain sort of truth and reality.

I don't pray to them, of course, but I still send thoughts to them asking for guidance in the right way of understanding.

In a way my perspective hasn't changed that much since then. it's more that I express it more accurately I think. My thoughts are better able to express my feelings, perhaps that's it.

Faculty X said...

What do you think about having multiple people explore a single locus in the astral to get a clearer picture of the spiritual dimension and teachings?

William Wildblood said...

I'm not sure what you mean, Faculty X.

NLR said...

When writing about the psychic plane, you emphasize the danger it presents for people to delude themselves.

Is this plane just an epiphenomenon of the minds of inhabitants of the Earth, of no importance in itself, or does it have value, perhaps as an intermediate level between the spiritual and material levels?

Or, is the psychic plane simply something we should not be concerned with because, even though it is not evil or completely illusionary, it is of no help towards lives on Earth?

William Wildblood said...

Those are interesting questions. My feeling is that everything has value in a hierarchy of meaning and reality so the psychic plane does have some importance but it should ideally be seen from above, with the eye of spiritual insight which, of course, we are not always equipped to do. It relates perhaps most of all to emotions which can be deceptive on the level of a being centred solely on itself but are still the reflection in the human psyche of love.

Perhaps the relevance of the psyche plane depends on our level of spiritual evolution to use a slightly old fashioned term which has fallen into disuse because it smacks of elitism but is still relevant in that it refers to our degree of spiritual unfoldment or development. For the person trying to extract himself from exclusive identification with his phenomenal self or ego the psychic plane and its attractions are best left alone. We should fix our hearts and minds on the spiritual though it is not always easy to tell them apart but then that's all part of the learning process.

In a way everything depends on definition. If we use the psychic plane to refer to phenomena then it is of no real spiritual relevance. But if we see it part of the whole of our being, even if not a very elevated part compared to intuition, insight, will and love, then we can engage with it without too much fear of deception. Just because it is the field in which human desires and fears can manifest themselves outwardly doesn't mean that it has no objective reality. We just need discrimination to see what aspect of it might be real and what illusionary.

Peter S. said...

Dear William,

I have read the better part of your book, which was not without interest, although I found it thinner with regard to actual 'teaching content' from the Masters than I would have liked. I have read very extensively in what might be broadly called 'posthumous literature' and only read such works as your own in what is essentially a comparative mode, on the basic working assumption that it is precisely commonalities of teaching across disparate sources that may be granted greatest warrant. I would be curious to know if you have compared your own experience with the Masters to other, similar sources of ostensibly discarnate spiritual instruction, such as William Stainton Moses's early work "Spirit Teachings", the books of Stewart Edward White, written in conjunction with his wife Betty (e.g. "The Betty Book", "Across the Unknown", "The Unobstructed Universe", ...), or even the very recent "Spiritual Light: Universal Teachings from the Highest Spirit Realms". These are only three I might name and the problem in such sources is knowing where to draw the line between what one might weigh as tentatively legitimate vs. illegitimate. A good resource to show just how strange and wild things can get is John Klimo's book "Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources," which includes everything from Seth to Ramtha to the Pleiadians and many more besides. The question of where to draw the line between legitimate and illegitimate is one that confronts anyone who seriously grapples with this genre of material and, unfortunately, one's ability to judge such material is usually under constraint, often in multiple ways.

William Wildblood said...

Peter, the thing about my experience is that the Masters were not giving general teachings to do with the higher planes, spiritual evolution, the occult history of the world or whatever it might be, but specifically instructing me in the things I needed to learn from a purely spiritual(i.e. not esoteric or metaphysical) point of view. That's why their teachings might seem a bit disappointing if one is expecting deep insights into more recondite matters. I was only 24 years old at the time of the incidents recorded in the book and their aim was to keep me focused on spiritual training without getting distracted by anything else.

In this I suppose they echoed the Buddha who refused to discuss general metaphysics with his disciples using the well known analogy of a man wounded by an arrow who just needed the arrow pulled out and wasn't bothered about where it was made, what the doctor's name was etc.

Regarding comparisons with similar experiences, the only one I really feel applies is the one I mention in the book which is The Boy and the Brothers by Swami Omananda. I have heard of Stainton Moses but not read anything by him. The trouble with this kind of communicated teaching is indeed sorting out the wheat from the chaff. I think we have to see the higher planes as made up of many levels and communication can come from any number of them. Some may have no value and others limited value. Some may be very helpful but there is not much in my opinion that is completely reliable. I don't think very high spirits use this method of communication much as it's quite crude, spiritually speaking. They prefer impression which benefits the recipient more as he has to use his own spiritual senses.I realise this puts me in a peculiar position since I claim that those who spoke to me were high spirits but that is just how I see things.

I've not had outer contact with them since 1999 but I like to think they impress me still which is what they said was their aim with me in the first place. I imagine they do that with many other people, anyone who is receptive to their 'voice'.

Peter S. said...

Dear William,

I agree with much of your third para. There is a necessary disjunction, however, between your situation - having had 'direct' contact with your Masters and another, such as that of myself, compelled by circumstance to take the matter at second hand. In this latter position, one cannot have, as a matter of course, the same degree of assurance as in the former. Your final comment in that para regarding 'impression' reminds me of a very interesting book, "Thavis is Here," by Harry Homewood, which I might recommend to your consideration. Again, as to the point you make in the first part of your third para, the interesting thing about Stainton Moses is that a) he was thoroughly investigated by the Society for Psychical Research, b) he possessed impeccable moral credentials, of a kind if would be difficult to find today, being in fact an Anglican minister who wanted nothing to do with mediumship, and that c) those ostensibly communicating through him ('Imperator' and his band) identified themselves as spirits of 'high degree', the communications of which were uniformly of an elevated character. 'Imperator' and his band would go on to have further communications, following Stainton Moses's death, through the remarkable Boston medium Lenora Piper, who was intensively studied by both the American and British Society for Psychical Research, including personally by William James (who referred to her as his 'white crow' for her exceptional mediumship).

Nevertheless, to the point of your first para, one of the ongoing frustrations I have with the broader genre of literature that your book falls into is its general uselessness with regard to both metaphysics and the spiritual life, taken in comparison with, shall we say, 'earthly' sources. One can do far better with such resources as the Philokalia, the Ihya Ulum ad-Din, the Enneads and the Vivekachudamani than with anything in the broad domain of what I have termed 'posthumous literature'. On the other hand, one can do far better in otaining 'cosmological' clarification on the 'great chain of being', particularly with regard to non-physical, subtle realms of being, by way of consultation of such literature than by any other sources of which I am aware.

William Wildblood said...

I would never claim that the teachings I was given should be compared to any scripture or even mystical treatise. They were intended to my specific case at that time though I do think they are broadly applicable to any aspirant. Mind you, the instruction to forget the personal self and merge with the universal self pretty much sums up all spiritual teaching I would say. If we could achieve that then the rest would be apparent as in "seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all things shall be added to you"