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.


Moonsphere said...

William, it is such a wonderful thing that you had this experience of meeting the Masters!

It seems that some human beings have elevated themselves far beyond the level of their fellow man. How they have achieved this is something of a mystery. Perhaps their incarnations started earlier, perhaps they have had more of them. Perhaps they were special right from the start. Gautama Buddha as the obvious example was so far advanced that he broke free of the wheel of incarnations. Some say he reached a stage that is equivalent to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ.

The concept of the Bodhisattva is of interest. A circle of 12 who surround the Christ Being. Moses and Elijah are said to number among that select group. Also among them is the successor to the Buddha - the so-called Matreiya Bodhisattva, who is said to incarnate approximately every century. The title that he will carry - the "Annihilator of Ignorance" fills me with awe.

Of these Masters, it seems there are some who have a special task relating to Humanity and will stay with us until the end, renouncing their Buddhahood when the time comes.

The Master Jesus presents us with another mystery. Perhaps the simplest answer is that he is the very same human being - Jesus of Nazareth - the sublime vessel though whom the Christ Being was able to enter the stream of humanity. The central event of all Creation - when God came to Earth - when the Vertical met the Horizontal - forever symbolised by the Cross.

ted said...

As a Catholic, I don't see any dissonance with embracing other religions or practices. Even the Catholic Church, while seen as exclusive with its rigid dogma (only a perception from the eyes of today's culture), embraces the definition of catholic - which is to be all embracing, allowing for a wide variety of things. This is the idea that nothing is to be excluded, yet put in its proper order of "both/and".

William Wildblood said...

I have always understood the hesitation people have in accepting the truth of any spiritual communication. There just is so much deception that we would be very naive to take anything on face value. And it does seem that this kind of contact is not something that is really in line with spiritual development as it exists at the present time . But it does sometimes happen, for reasons I don't know, and that's all I can say.

William Wildblood said...

By which I mean I don't know the reason for it anymore than anyone else. I say this because people have asked me why I was the recipient of this attention. All I have come up with is that my soul must have a connection with these teachers and Michael, to whom I also had a spiritual connection, the Masters told me as much, was able to act as a medium for them in a way that most mediumistic ally inclined types would not have been able to do due to the high spiritual input of the Masters. They'd have blown the filament in the old light bulb analogy!

Chris said...

There are many people among the SBNR crowd who would argue that the words of Christ are perfectly consonant with a Yogi/mystic who has realized the "Supreme Identity".
For example, the claim that "I and the Father are one..." could be said to have been describing moksha, but was misinterpreted because of the fundamentally dualistic theistic spiritual universe that it arose in. The idea here being that Christianity started as the religion of Jesus and then mutated into the religion about Jesus. Do you think this is plausible?

William Wildblood said...

Chris, emphatically no. It's completely implausible. Jesus was speaking from within the ancient Jewish tradition not Hinduism or Buddhism. He wasn't a yogi or even a mystic. Some of his statements can be interpreted in that way and he does include mysticism in his overall teaching but he also fully includes the created world in his spiritual outlook. In Christianity the individual is valued in a way that it just isn't in Yogic mysticism. It's no accident that the Buddha is depicted with his eyes closed in meditation but Jesus always has his eyes wide open.

Moonsphere said...

In my opinion, Buddhists should just get on with being Buddhists.

If they truly believed in Christ - they would be Christians.

S. Richard said...

When I've read Christian spiritual warfare books, something like the phrase, "Spirit, say "Jesus Christ is Lord," is used a way of testing if a spirit is demonic or not. Supposedly, demons won't be able to acknowledge Christ as Lord. As none of your Masters called used the term "Lord," does that mean they were demonic in nature? Did you test them in that manner?

Bruce Charlton said...

The whole idea of Antichrist is that demons and their servants are able to use religious language in order to simulate followers of Christ with the aim of damning those who follow them.

In this sense demons are somewhat like psychopaths, their lack of love means that they can lie without guilt and without the usual signs of lying.

The discernment is not by quasi-magical word formulae, but by the heart - a psychopath (to use that analogy again) can simulate warmth and altruism at the surface level - but our heart can (if we allow it, and give it a chance) detect the coldness and emptiness of their hearts.

The cold heart (the soul) usually shows up in the eyes, as well (stony, unchanging, 'reptilian') - but again this is a matter of our heart's discernment; and mainly knowable in real life with personal contact, rather than an objective and measurable difference in the eyes that might be seen in a photograph (which can be faked).

If someone *seriously* wants to know the nature of the Masters that William spoke with, they should read his book/s - or at least some of the excerpts on this blog; which will also help them to know William - his nature and motivations.

Subjecting William to a legalistic cross-examination will not reveal the truth!

William Wildblood said...

Bruce has answered for me and probably better than I could but I will add this. I didn't think to test them in that way because it would have seemed downright rude. They were clearly so far beyond me but had taken the trouble to speak to me so it just wasn't my place to interrogate them in what would have seemed to me a frankly impertinent manner. That doesn't mean I just took them on trust. Obviously I analysed the situation, their teachings, their personalities and presence, and everything about the whole experience. I took nothing on face value at first. But sometimes a thing is just so overwhelmingly true that you accept it as it is.

I am naturally a person who is very suspicious about all supposed spiritual teachings. All my life I have fought in my little way against what I regard as spiritual falsehood and deception. Goodness knows, there's a lot of it about. But , if you'll forgive me talking personally, I hate the false because I love the true. Sometimes I even think that may be the reason that the Masters spoke to me. That's one quality, if I may say so, I think I can lay claim to.

As for this question about saying Jesus is Lord, I'm sorry but that's just absurd. What about all those paedophile priests who celebrated Mass? All the preachers and supposed holy men who say one thing in church and do another in their so called private lives? if you think that demons can't agree with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and then carry on their corrupt ways you must ask yourself how even scripture says that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. If he can do that with his outer form then he can say anything he wants to suit his purposes. To think otherwise is naive. The only way to tell true from false is through spiritual discernment which means if your own heart is true you will see truth. If not then maybe not.

Sorry to be so forthright but I think this is an important question and the legalistic approach is the letter that kills. I fully accept that many spiritual communications, probably most, are of dubious origin and worth. We should always keep our spiritual eyes wide open. But the beings who spoke to me just gave spiritual instruction. They did not desire worship or make outlandish claims or seek to deceive in any way. So if they were demons they were completely useless ones!

S. Richard said...

I wasn't trying to "catch out" William. I was simply asking a question on a subject I was curious about. The thoughtful responses are appreciated. Since Bruce mentioned Mr. Wildblood's books.... I've recently purchased two of his: Remember The Creator and The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man. Mr. Charlton's writing has gotten me interested enough in William Arkle to purchase that man's two books, and sparked an interest in Owen Barfield. (Now I have Saving the Appearances and What Coleridge Thought. Mr. Charlton is keeping me busy.)

I've been frustrated by what I've seen as the limitations of Christianity. I know Christ as my Savior and His Way as the truth, but I've been wondering if there are more levels of understanding than are readily apparent in the Bible and the writings of "standard" theologians. I'm grateful that Mr. Wildblood and Mr. Charlton have shown me that are more levels of my faith that can be explored.

William Wildblood said...

I hope my reply didn't come over as if I was offended in any way. I wrote it and posted without going through it as I tend to do in the comments rather than take more care as I do in the posts. But words like 'absurd' and ' naive' might seem a bit rude. They were however meant to refer to attitudes and certainly not to what you were saying. I appreciate the fact you have taken the trouble to ask a question, doubly so since it is a very important question.

Thank you for buying the books. If you have any question arising from them please don't hesitate to ask. I've found the way i learn myself is through people asking questions. I think in the present difficult spiritual times we are all on a voyage of discovery together.