What I mean is that my fundamental spiritual idea of the reality of God and of our purpose in this world as to conform our being more and more to his remains unchanged. It cannot change. It's the same with regard to my belief in the reality of the Masters as messengers from God. I have more or less the same approach to basic spiritual truths as I have done since the age of 22 when I first properly encountered them. However, within that basic form there is room for growth which is how I understand the word evolve.
When I wrote Meeting the Masters my aim was to present the Masters and describe my experience with them. This happened as is related in the book and I thought it a story worth telling, given its unusual nature and how it might be a support to sympathetically inclined people. To know that there exist spiritual beings who can carry something of the love and truth of God to earthly humanity, even if we are not aware of them, is surely a consolation in times of struggle and doubt.
I wrote the book in the context of a fairly universal type of spirituality because that seemed the best way to do it at the time and it roughly matched my position then. Some might see that as New Age-ish though I would not go along with such an assessment since I have always rejected the New Age as a hotchpotch of beliefs, more concerned with the psychic than the spiritual and the creation than the Creator. But my approach was not specifically Christian which has concerned some people because of the warnings against false prophets and psychic wonders given by Christianity. I was always very aware of the dangers of the psychic world and the illusions to be found there. I mentioned this regularly throughout the book. Nevertheless, it is a mistake to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Angels have been known to come to men since Biblical times and they still do. Some angels are demons posing as celestial beings, of that there's no doubt. But not all are and it is up to us to develop discernment to tell the difference. It's not that hard if one has a true desire to know God and are not looking for personal advancement.
I am not and have never been an orthodox Christian but I regard Christ as the Saviour and Son of God and always have. He is not just another enlightened spiritual teacher and to see him like that would be to cast him as some sort of crypto-Buddhist and basically ignore everything he says about himself. I don't see how this is a feasible view at all. If he was just a spiritual teacher then he was wrong in many of the things he said, and if that's the case what sort of spiritual teacher was he? No, you cannot see Christ merely as an Eastern-style guru. The Buddha, who I regard as the pre-eminent spiritual teacher in the ordinary sense, proclaimed he had found a way. But Christ said he was the Way. These are two totally different things. You can have spirituality without Christ but Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No spiritual teacher, enlightened or otherwise, could ever say this.
Some people have asked why the Masters did not talk of Christ. They actually did mention Jesus in a general sense and he was the only person they ever did mention, but it is true they did not say he was the Son of God. They did refer to him as the Great Master, though, and they also often spoke of the Most High which is a Christian and Jewish reference to God. But the reason they didn't mention Christ more specifically is because they never told me what to believe. That was my responsibility. They gave general spiritual instruction tailored to my needs, essentially revolving around humility and love which are the primary Christian virtues, but they wanted me to grow from within rather than imitate them. It was up to me to forge my own path and find things out for myself because this is how we grow. I firmly believe that they inspired me in certain directions from within but they did not do that through the words they spoke. Any philosophy, metaphysics, religion or theology I might have would have to come from me. I had to make my own mistakes in that regard and learn from them. If we are ever to become as they are, which is the goal for all of us, this is the only way.
I have learnt from other religions, mostly Hinduism and Buddhism, but these have always been peripheral to Christianity, supplements rather than replacements. You might ask why anyone would need supplements and, of course, you don't. Everything necessary for spiritual salvation is in the teachings and person of Christ. But we do live in an age when we have access to almost everything there has ever been and I think we can use that to our advantage though it can also be confusing, distracting and lead astray. Again, though, that is up to us, to our own discernment and spiritual integrity. Eastern religions can help to supply a sense of God's immanence which has been slightly lacking in Christianity (though it is there) and that is how I have used them. But they do not have Christ and that means there is a hole at their centre. For Westerners certainly, I'm not sure about Easterners. The hole would still be there but God may have provided compensation. Christ came for all men but perhaps he is sometimes present without being obviously so. I don't know, though I would add that, even if that is the case, it is not the same thing and only a kind of stop-gap because of the mercy of God.
I hope if you read my book you will see that Christ is the main influence even if that is not presented in an overtly Christian way. Passages such as "the Masters could often sound much more like wise abbots of a Christian monastery than teachers of enlightenment" point, or were intended to point, in that direction. As was the statement that there is a secret beyond non-duality which is duality. I should also say that their medium, Michael Lord, was and remained a Christian until his dying day. He was more orthodox than me and actually insisted that we went to church every Sunday when we lived in India as it wouldn't be right, in his eyes, not to do so when we were supposed to be leading a spiritual life. He meant that it was all very well to have an inner spiritual life but one should observe outer practice too. So we went to the Victorian Holy Trinity church in Yercaud and I read the lesson there regularly. I've just looked the church up and found some pictures of it. It was a simple but beautiful little church with a small but devout congregation. The priest had to come up every Sunday from the nearest big town which was Salem, about 25 miles away. I'm glad to see it still exists
The commenter also asked how I understand my experiences with the Masters in the light of 1 John 4:1-3 which is the famous passage saying we should not believe every spirit because there are many false prophets and the way to tell true from false is to see if they acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. I clearly can't ask the Masters that now and I didn't think to at the time. To me it was obvious that they were who they said they were from many indications of their love and wisdom and essential absolute goodness. But I'm not convinced by this passage anyway. I wonder if it might be specific to the time it was written. After all, it would not be difficult for a deceiving spirit to say Jesus was the Son of God. Certainly, if it denies that then steer clear but there is no reason why a deceptive spirit could not go along with that and then work its mischief. It's not as though they can't be deceptive! To be honest, the only way to tell true from false is through spiritual discernment. There's no magic tool, and why should there be? We are not children and God does not want us to be. If we fall for a deceptive spirit that will be our own fault, because we are promised something or our ego is flattered or we hold false ideas in the first place.
There is one thing I can say on this subject though. An experience that has many parallels with mine is detailed in a couple of books written in the 1950s, The Boy and the Brothers and Towards the Mysteries. This is the story of a young man who was used by the Masters as a medium. The books are written by an Irishwoman called Swami Omananda, née Maud McCarthy. Her Indian name might put some people off but that would be a mistake, I think. She was a devout spiritual seeker and served the Masters faithfully. But, as in my case, they did not tell her what to believe outwardly so she chose her own path.
Near the end of the second book there is a passage in which Swami Omananda asks a Master about Christ, saying that as much as she loved him (the Master), this love did not replace her love for Christ which had only grown with time. Was this wrong, she asked? Presumably she felt she was being a bit disloyal to the teachers who had given her so much. The reply more than satisfied her. Not only was it not wrong, it was absolutely right! Christ was the Master of all the Masters. He was the Lord. You can read a post I wrote on this a few years ago here and also the relevant extract from the book.
This echoes my feelings. I love the Masters who spoke to me and I would be more than honoured to be counted as one of their pupils. But they do not replace Christ. Nothing can replace Christ who is the Son of God and Saviour of humanity.