Sunday 29 December 2019

The Masters and Jesus

I was asked in a comment on the previous post if my views on spiritual matters have evolved since I wrote Meeting the Masters which was in 2010 though it wasn't published until 2012. What I would say in response to this is in one sense no, in another yes, and in a third, my views are evolving all the time. I realise, however, that is a singularly unhelpful answer! 

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.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas Darkness and Light

Human beings descended from the unity of unindividualised spirit into the duality of matter where they are able to develop their individual selves. The time of pre-history was the time of the descent. History begins when human individuality has started to have a significant impact on consciousness. When the descent has reached its furthest point, meaning consciousness is fully embedded in matter, it must be redirected upwards or else it will stay where it is, stuck. Its momentum has carried it down to the earth but now something radically different is required to turn it around and start it on its ascent back to spirit. That something was the birth of Christ.

We had come down from the realms of light into material darkness. We had reached the bottom. Christ was born to reorient us to the light and enable us to transform our earthly selves into true (rather than potential) sons and daughters of God through assimilation into his being. This requires that we freely give ourselves to Christ and so, in return, can partake of his being. Unity of consciousness is known in a way that combines the individual with God without loss of either. Originally, we were one with God but did not know it. Then we knew we were separate from God. The intended final state is that we become consciously one with God and with all other spiritual beings in a union of love and creative self-expression.

Christmas is at the darkest time of the year, when the days are short and the nights are long. The symbolism here is that the first Christmas occurred when human consciousness was at its darkest, at the nadir of its descent, deeply locked into the world of matter. Christ's birth changed that even though it may be hard to believe, given what has happened since and especially given the rampant materialism of the present day. But Christ's birth served to turn us around and re-polarise our individual selves to God. If we accepted him, that is. Many people have done precisely that but we live at a time of mass apostasy when recalcitrant souls are being given another, maybe a last, chance to turn to the light. The options of God or no God are being clearly laid out but the choice is not made easy or it would not be a true test of the heart. Evil can appear good to those whose heart inclines towards evil. This is a time of reckoning.

The symbolism of Christmas is that of light appearing in darkness. Let us remind ourselves of that at this time of deep outer darkness. Christ was physically born 2,000 odd years ago but he can be born in us spiritually at any time. Light in darkness.

Happy Christmas!

Saturday 21 December 2019

God is Not Nice

There was a post on the Junior Ganymede site which I saw via Bruce Charlton's blog recently that was called The Vice of Being Nice. Clever title! As I consider the modern attitude of seeing niceness as a cardinal virtue a big spiritual mistake, I had a look at it. There was a little flow chart illustrating how niceness can distort love and contradict standing up for something which encapsulates the problem very well.

I commented that being nice is putting feelings before facts which sometimes is just kind-heartedness but at others plain wrong or even spiritually disastrous. It all depends on what the facts actually are. I was not meaning, any more than the writer of the post, that niceness was a bad thing. In everyday life, it's clearly, er, a very nice thing. But when it comes down to fundamental reality then pandering to people's feelings under all circumstances can easily mean encouraging the lie. Seeing being nice as primary risks allowing good and evil equal rights which is what I meant by spiritually disastrous. And, when you think about it, the modern obsession with equality boils down to a desire for niceness. It's just not fair if we aren't equal so let's be nice and pretend we are. The trouble is this just results in a major reduction of truth and quality in all areas. It weakens everything including love which is what it is presumably supposed to be upholding. Why? Because it transforms love from something deep and strong and real and true and wise and holy and good to a little parody of itself, something not felt just painted on the outside.

In no spiritual tradition are we enjoined to be nice. To be kind, yes, but not nice. There's a difference. Niceness relates to making a situation frictionless and pleasant on its own terms here and now, regardless of reality. It's actually a materialistic virtue in that it seeks harmony at the everyday worldly level without acknowledgement of higher truths. By definition, it prizes unity and peace while ignoring facts or a reality deeper than that of outer appearance. To reject this frame of mind is precisely what Christ meant when he said he came to bring a sword not peace. A sword divides and separates. It can kill. A sword is not nice but it defends truth. Peace tolerates evil and lies, or can do. Christ did bring peace but it was the peace that passes human understanding which is of a different order altogether.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Do we fear what is nice? Of course not. Nice is always safe but God is not safe. He will tear out your old self and make you something entirely new. Does niceness demand anything? No, it does not but God demands everything and will not let you hold anything back. It's all or nothing with God, and he demands your soul with a fierce authority. That is, he demands it if you wish to give it. He demands nothing unless you want him but, if you do want him, he is ruthless in his requirements.

God is not nice. He is a blazing light that illumines the saint and burns the unrepentant sinner.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Christianity's Influence on the West

I recently watched a video on Youtube (see here) in which two eminent intellectuals, the author Tom Holland and the philosopher AC Grayling, debated whether Christianity had given the West its human values with the former saying it had and the latter denying that. It actually struck me as a fairly pointless argument. Of course, Christianity made the West what it was and, of course, there were other influences involved, most notably Classical civilisation. They also discussed whether humanism was a form of Christianity, just one without God, with the first saying it was and the second disputing that, pointing to Greek antecedents and maintaining that similar beliefs had arisen elsewhere, most obviously in India and China. But since humanism arose in a profoundly Christian world here again the conclusion seems obvious. On one level, it may be innate to human beings. It would be strange if it were not given human beings, all of them not just Christians, are made in the image of God. But, on another, in its developed form it only took hold in the Christian world. It seemed to me that what CS Lewis called the Tao was available to men everywhere, which no one would question, but Tom Holland was saying the West had something more than the Tao and it got that from Christianity.

I agree with Tom Holland. Any other position seems perverse to me, the mind believing what the emotions or the will want it to believe. Besides this is surely not the question. The question should be, is Christianity true? Was Christ the Son of God, the Logos? Is salvation, meaning salvation from the world, the flesh and the devil, attained through Christ? Can we be raised to a higher state of being through Christ? When you put the matter like this, it is not whether the West was formed by Christianity that matters. It's whether we can be transformed in and by and through Christ. That is the only question that really matters in life. And the answer is yes. For when you come down to it, Christianity has something that no other religion has. Yes, there are similar teachings elsewhere but no other religion has Christ and it is the person of Christ that is the essential and critical spiritual truth even more than the teachings. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" means what it says.

Saturday 14 December 2019

The Demon of the Left

The only bishop in the Church of England with a public profile I know of who is actually a real Christian and fights for the truth of Christ is Gavin Ashenden. Just after the election I looked at his Twitter account where he had posted a couple of videos concerning reactions by the left to their defeat. The account is here and the videos are on 13th December, one beginning "This reminds me of a psychotic episode" and the other " The Left at work, celebrating their rejection of hate". 

Now, I didn't vote for reasons I have given in earlier posts but the result was clearly the best one possible. Seeing these reactions confirmed something I have known for a long while but rarely seen displayed so openly. The left is quite literally demonic. That is to say, there is a demon that animates their whole anti-God and nature ideology and feeds it with hatred and resentment, and those inclined to these negative states are susceptible to the influence of this demon and sometimes possessed by it. That is why great swathes of the English working classes abandoned Labour in this election and voted, quite possibly praying to their forefathers for forgiveness, for Boris Johnson. Their left was not demonic even if, as I would maintain, the seeds were there. But generally it was a party that fought for the working man. Fair enough. But the modern left has ignored, worse it's rejected, these people and looked for new groups through which it can push its agenda of spiritual destruction.  The modern left is demonic, witness its reaction to those who oppose it both in America and here, When they don't get their way they go slightly mad, a sure sign of possession. When the right lose they go away to lick their wounds but when the left lose they also lose their reason. The mask slips and the hatred is naked as it is in these two videos. 

Just after I'd written this I went back to the account to check the link worked and the bishop had posted a third video beginning "I advise not viewing this overflowing etc". It's possibly the worst of all, considering it's coming from a young girl who hopes to be a doctor. The chief emotion it stirs is pity that a person can debase herself to this degree. Hopefully in later life she will look back at this and shudder in embarrassment.

Trials on the Path

I want to say a few words about something the Masters told me on more than one occasion during the times they spoke to me. What they said was words to the effect (and I am not quoting verbatim here as in the book but from memory and in my own words though the sense is theirs) that, "You will be subjected to extreme provocation at certain times in your life. This is because the dark forces always attack those who seek to tread the spiritual path but it is also to test your ability to remain calm and not react because of pride or self-will. Accept these attacks humbly even if you believe them to be unreasonable and unjust."

I am not mentioning this here because of a personal situation but for more universal reasons because I think this kind of thing happens to everyone who tries to lead a life in which spiritual concerns come first. You will be attacked. Perhaps by outsiders, colleagues or perhaps by friends and even family. The attacks will possibly contain elements of truth but truth blown up out of proportion and with no sense of a more balanced point of view. We all have faults. These will be homed in on and used to completely define your personality as though the faults were all it were. Sometimes the whole point will be that the attacks are clearly totally unreasonable. This is to get you to react with self-righteous indignation. The fact that you are right will be used to deceive you into thinking that your reaction is right which, of course, it isn't.

I think the only solution when faced with personal attacks is to remember how Jesus behaved when he was attacked in this manner. He remained calm and said nothing. He did not try to justify himself. He did not pity himself even when his friends either abandoned him or actually turned on him. Nothing was more unjust than what he had to endure. 

But he was Jesus, you might say. We can't live like that! Yes, we can. We can certainly try to do so. In fact, we must do so. That was the example he set, the example was specifically for us to follow. He was not doing anything that his followers could not do as the early martyrs demonstrated. It is highly unlikely that we will be called upon to do anything as dramatic as them but we will be personally traduced. This may be on account of our beliefs but it may also be for who we are or how we behave. Anyone who sincerely wishes to follow Christ is stepping out of the mainstream and bringing completely different rules to the game. They might seem exacting, intolerant, critical, judgemental (in the world's eyes) and they might be condemned on just these grounds. But we have to stand firm while always remembering that it should be our behaviour that judges the world more than our words by which I mean that those who would follow Christ must set a personal example.

The dark forces have a lot of power in the world today, partly because they are unacknowledged and their way of working unrecognised. They can act through those close to us, professionally or personally. But God can bring good out of evil and this is one of those tests that burn out self-concern from our character and enable us to turn to God more fully. It has to be said, too, that sometimes something in the attack may have an element of truth to it and we would do well to see that even if the bulk of it is unjust. 

Thursday 12 December 2019

Right and Left

Sometimes I amuse myself by trying to reduce the difference between right and left to just one basic thing. That's because I believe that what ultimately lies behind these two attitudes reflects a duality in reality that goes beyond mere politics. Manifested reality is built on complementary opposites and the interaction between them. Otherwise it could not be. If everything was one then nothing, no thing, could ever arise. There needs to be this duality in reality in order for creation to take place. This is why we speak of spirit and matter and why there is subject and object.

What is this fundamental difference? It can be equated to that between justice and mercy or hierarchy and oneness or quality and quantity or liberty and constraint or the individual and the group etc, etc. All these things reflect something of the essential divide between right and left, and you can see that when we put the question in these terms they both have something real as a foundation. I am not saying they are equally valid in this world but they are both built on something real even if they are at several removes from the thing itself.  They can be said to have a metaphysical foundation of sorts, however crooked the building on top of that might be.

There is another difference, though, which in modern times has come to the fore and this division is not a product of any existent thing in reality. This division is between truth and a lie. 

The difference between right and left now (with the proviso that much called right today is just a milder form of left) is between belief in objective truth and belief in truth that can be made into what you want it to be.

If you have one person who thinks that things have their own reality independent of anything we might believe or want, and another who thinks that we can make things into what we want them to be (which means they have no independent reality), there can be no meeting between the two. As each side takes its beliefs to their logical conclusions they will get further and further apart, and glib appeals to sit down and talk and find some kind of unity become meaningless. This is the situation we are in today and the matter is serious because if it continues it could lead to war. 

Is there any means of providing some kind of rapprochement between these two sides? In a world based on materialism, the answer must be no. They can never meet because they position themselves in exact opposition to each other. The only possible way to transcend their differences is to move to a spiritual level where all things can be reconciled but this would not affect each side equally. The spiritual position asserts that there is an objective reality so the right is correct and the left is wrong. However, the leftist desire to remake reality according to its own desires can be satisfied to an extent by recognising that in God all questions are answered and all suffering is removed. Problems associated with unfairness and inequality are resolved as each soul who turns to God is rewarded according to its measure and none is short-changed because of an excess to another. The promised land of milk and honey where everything is as it should ideally be does exist but it only exists on a spiritual level and in spiritual terms. It can never be brought about in the material world except as a consequence of spiritual seeing.

If right and left are ever to find common ground, something that looks increasingly unlikely, they must raise their eyes from earth to heaven. The nature of this world is such that there can be no answer to the problems of life in terms of this world being its own cause or reward or truth. The two facets of created reality can only be united and reconciled on the spiritual level. 

Today is a General Election in the UK. I don't vote. Firstly because all parties are actively anti-spiritual and, though I don't say they're all as bad as each other (socialism, for instance, denies the individual and human freedom which is the whole point of creation), they're all bad now. But, secondly, I don't vote because I think universal franchise is insane. How can you decide how a country should be governed by a majority vote? You may as well just toss a coin. Voting is simply a way to make people think they have some influence in a system which is largely rigged anyway but even if it were all above board it would still be an absurd way to go about things. Universal suffrage is based on the idea of equality with everyone equally entitled to have an opinion on any particular issue but human beings are not equal. They never have been and never will be. They have equal potential as souls but how that potential is developed or manifested varies enormously. I would go so far as to say that equality is anti-religious in that it denies the order God has created. Naturally, this does not mean that all people should not be treated with justice.

The outcome of the election will make little real difference to the country. I don't say all outcomes are identical in impact because that is not the case but the solution to our current problems is not political. Continuing with the farce of modern democracy just puts off the day of reckoning. Truth is not determined by a majority opinion. That is why I will not be voting. 

Monday 9 December 2019

A Walk Along the Downs

I used to live just outside Eastbourne on the Sussex coast and often walked along the downs between the town and Beachy Head, the notorious cliff favoured by would-be suicides because of the large sheer drop to the rocky beach below. But it is very beautiful and I chose it for the cover of my Meeting the Masters book. That stretch of coast with its white cliffs and soft downs with the open sea to one side is very evocative of Albion for me. There's something almost prehistoric about it.

I had cause to go to Eastbourne last week and, my business complete, thought I'd walk across the downs to Beachy Head as I used regularly to do 20 years before. I set off down the path that started where the parade along the beach front stopped. The weather was a little chilly and the sky cloudy but with a bit of sun peeping through now and then. Good walking weather. 

The path to the coast

After a few hundred yards I noticed I was being followed by several of what I like to think were ravens but which were probably crows. They were quite big though. The initial group were joined by more and more until there were over twenty. Some of them followed behind but others flew ahead and landed on the path just in front of me. Others kept to one side so I was almost surrounded by them. But they weren't menacing in any way. Nothing Hitchcockian about them. In fact, they actually seemed friendly and almost treating me as a guest on their territory. I had a sandwich with me and gave them a few crumbs of that which, of course, encouraged them.

The birds ahead of me

The birds behind me. They were nearer than it seems in the photos.

It was a strange and I have to say rather nice experience. The birds were almost like a little troop of friendly puppies, cawing away now and then but not excessively. I chatted to them, thanking them for their attention and asking them about their lives. They seemed to listen and I got some caws back.  I walked along and they kept pace with me by walking a bit themselves then flying a little and they kept this up all along the downs until we got to the hill which leads up to the top of Beachy Head. Then most of them peeled off and headed away on other business but 3 remained for a while and one stayed with me all the way to the top and even when I turned around to go back to the town which I did along the upper edge of the downs rather than by the coastal path which was the way I'd come.

Beachy Head lighthouse. A fuzzy photo because the wind on the exposed hill made my hands shake

I have to confess that I played a little game with myself during this walk with the ravens (oh all right, crows). Inspired by the Albion-like landscape of the downs and the sea which must have been just as it was thousands of years ago, I imagined myself as an ancient druid with his flock of familiars in the form of birds. Ridiculous, I know, but the fact is this little experience did summon up some primeval feelings of being in tune with the natural world before the material dimension started to close in on us and we commenced our journey to full separation of the outer world and inner consciousness. 

But deep down I know it was probably all to do with the sandwich in my pocket.

Friday 6 December 2019

Evil is Not Good

I regard it as a major error to see evil as a tool wielded by God to bring about greater understanding and development. This is a fairly common trope, whether as a Christian heresy, a variation on Eastern monism or an example of the sort of Western occultism that seeks to present itself as more 'advanced' than religion for the unenlightened masses. But it is wrong.

Roughly speaking, the theory goes that without darkness you could not know light so certain angels act on behalf of God as forces of darkness and contraction. They do what we, in our short-sightedness, call evil but they are working for the spread of good. Lucifer, of course, means Light Bearer and, according to this idea, that is what he still is. He is the force that brings about individuality and breaks down spiritual inertia so that new growth may arise. He is sometimes even thought of as Christ's dark twin, the two working in tandem to bring about spiritual evolution as the One splits into the Many before recombining as the One.

I think this is pernicious nonsense. Tolkien (as usual) had it right. In his creation myth, the One God teaches the archangels who are the children of his thought to sing creation into being which they proceed to do along the harmonious guidelines laid down by God. But they have a certain amount of freedom too and one archangel brings in discordant elements, the product of his incipient egotism. Several times God corrects this by introducing new themes that balance it out but it seems that the end product, Earth, is still somewhat corrupted. Evil has come through the pride of the rebellious archangel and though God can use that evil to bring about some new good, the evil is certainly not the source of the good or the necessary means for it. It's more a matter of making a virtue out of necessity. Evil here is not a form of good but a perversion of it.

It is important to see this correctly or you can fall into the trap of justifying evil and not standing against it as the enemy of good rather than its accomplice. And that means you will become an apologist for evil or even an enabler of it. This is the philosophy of people who eschew divine simplicity in favour of over-elaborate cosmologies that appeal to the intellect. It can be dispelled by a proper understanding of Christ who leaves us in doubt that evil is not good. It is evil.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

The Soul's Choice

My last post talked about the soul or spiritual self and its earthly representative which is us as we feel ourselves to be down here in the world. A question I thought of at the time, and even wrote a partial response to but didn't publish, was what happens to the soul if the earthly self rejects God. Bruce Charlton's recent post (see here) asking where evil comes from and setting out his vision of the whole spiritual process has brought that question back into focus for me.

The soul may be defined as our spiritual self but that is in relation to the earthly, phenomenal self. The soul is not perfect or, at least, not brought to full perfection. As Bruce points out, it lacks agency and this is why it needs to experience life in the material world, the world that is perceived as separate from God. If the soul through its earthly persona turns to God, at a time when it knows separation from God, that demonstrates that its inner compass is true. It has a choice which it does not have on its own level and it has chosen well. Its choice is in harmony with life. But if the soul, again through its earthly persona, does not turn to God that demonstrates it has chosen evil (evil being defined as non-God) as opposed to good. Its inner orientation has been shown to be false, basically pointing to itself as prior rather than God. This cannot be demonstrated on its own level where there is no choice. It is only when the soul descends to a world of good and evil that its essential nature can be brought out through revealing how it reacts to the choice of God or no God. Both possibilities are given to it in this world. The fact of God should be clear to the unclouded mind but we are given grounds for plausible deniability. If you don't want to believe, you don't have to.

The soul may be spiritual but it is not, in Christian parlance, resurrected. I would make the distinction in this context between spiritual and divine with the one conceived merely as non-material while the other is fully and consciously aligned with God. If the soul through its worldly self choses God then that soul is saved and will eventually, when fully purified of all residual sin, be resurrected. It will ascend to heaven. It is not currently in heaven but in a spiritual zone between earth and heaven. This is a zone of peace and goodness but one in which God is felt rather than known. There is bliss and love but these are largely passive in contradistinction to the creative freedom and active love of the heavenly world. In terms of luminescence you might envisage it as a place of moonlight rather than radiant sunlight.

On the other hand, if the soul through its earthly self rejects God then that soul will, in terms of spiritual consciousness, fall instead of rise and it will find itself in a world that reflects its internal state. Hell as an environment is the reflection of the inner consciousness of the individual soul who goes there. A darkened mind will find itself in a corresponding locale.

To ascend to heaven the soul needs to fill itself with light. This light must come from Christ. Within each soul there is an image of Christ but this image can only become spiritually alive when, like a candle lit by a flame, it is lit by Christ himself and that can only happen when the soul in this world opens itself up to Christ. But this must be the true Christ not some mind-created sentimentalised facsimile of him and that means that the individual human mind must be responding to the true soul image which it can only do by going beyond itself to the spiritual reality within.

Sunday 1 December 2019

The Higher Self

Seen in its own light this world has never seemed completely real to me and nor have I, as I am, seemed completely real to myself. Now, I definitely don't mean that it is all an illusion. That is not the case. But I would say that both the world and I (and you, of course) are but the outermost parts of something much more substantial. The illusion is to identify this world with the whole world and yourself solely with your outer parts meaning mind as well as body. For instance, I don't think the person called William Wildblood is my whole self. He is real enough but he only represents a limited aspect of the true self. He is the expressed part on Earth of something more fundamental. A few people identify themselves largely with their bodies, many more identify themselves with their minds, their thoughts, desires and so on. But the true self is a spiritual being of which the earthly self is but a projected part, something like a multidimensional thing squeezed into a three-dimensional pot. It is the phenomenal representative of a spiritual being.

Even most people who call themselves spiritual identify themselves with their material selves and worldly personality. They seek to make that better. But this approach can lead to a kind of materialistic spirituality in which the earthly ego is regarded as the one to be saved when in fact it is the earthly ego and its goals and desires that must be put in their place before anyone can be born again in the spirit.

The higher self is our real spiritual being, the central sun, which, as it were, sends down a ray of itself to the physical world in order to gain the experience of life in matter which it needs in order to grow.  As the old adage has it, it is separation that leads to completion. You need to break up unity in order to become aware of unity. This earthly representative of the soul in matter consists of mental, emotional and physical parts but with connections to higher levels, principally through the conscience and the imagination, that can be opened up and developed with proper practice and right motivation.

It is probable that the soul on its own level cannot grow or cannot grow in as comprehensive a way as it can in the physical world where it is largely on its own so obliged to develop its mental side and also become a full individual therefore more independent and freer. So we need to leave the spiritual security of the soul to become fully conscious of it and to develop its creative powers. This we do through the earthly personality but that it is more the vessel for our endeavours. It should not be the main focus for them. At the same time, to regard the earthly personality as spiritually irrelevant and as something to be left behind is also wrong. The idea is to combine the two. They are both part of our whole self. Nevertheless it is the soul or higher self that is the centre of our true being. That is the core of our identity.

When the Masters told me that "the greater part of you remains with us" they were referring to the soul. Note that they call it the greater part. They do not call it the real part or the true part. The earthly personality is part of what we are but it is not the whole of what we are.