Tuesday 31 March 2020

Silver Linings

According to statistics I have seen here (you may need to scroll up), 95% of active coronavirus cases are mild which really does make one ask why the current lockdown is necessary. Getting the vulnerable to stay at home should have been sufficient. But if the virus is just an excuse to bring about other ends, as those who see this as part of an ongoing spiritual war believe, then that fact is almost incidental. The spreading of fear, the curtailing of liberties, the driving of souls into existential despair, these are what matter to the demonic powers pushing the agenda. Their human henchmen are mostly just pawns in the game with no idea of the greater stakes behind the worldly crisis. They may have their own purposes but they will see that these will come to nothing and they have been used, to be discarded when their usefulness is over.

Where I live just outside London the world has suddenly become much less busy with fewer people dashing about the streets and in the parks. Best of all, it has become quieter. I notice the birds far more than usual and I am inclined to think there are more of them about. Normally, it's mainly pigeons, magpies and crows around here but now I see finches, starlings, blackbirds and even a few sparrows, once so common, now so rare. To top it all, I saw a jay last week.

When humanity retreats, nature can start to make a little comeback. I'm certainly not one of those misanthropic environmentalist types who sees the human race as a curse on the face of the earth but there's no doubt that we have not taken the trust invested in us by God to be stewards of creation in the way we should have done. We have exploited the earth and treated nature as our thing to do with as we wish. Now nature is reminding us that we are not such powerful overlords after all. But this is not all bad news because we are thereby forced back into more fundamental realities and jolted out of our normal complacency in which all our desires are effortlessly met if we have the financial wherewithal. Today we are reduced to essentials, witness the queues for food at supermarkets. In a certain sense, we are being recalled to order. I'm not saying the current crisis has been sent by God but as with any evil, it can be used to good purpose.

So when you go out now take advantage of the quiet to become closer to God who is often lost in the bustle of everyday existence. Be more aware of him in the green growth of nature in springtime. Look for him inside yourself where he lives as the fact of your existence but also as your loving Father. He rarely shouts or tries to grab your attention so the present state of relative stillness and silence can be used to our spiritual advantage.

Saturday 28 March 2020

The Moon and Venus

Last night there was a conjunction of the crescent moon and Venus. Above is a terrible photo taken on my 5 year old phone, which wasn't that great in the first place, at about 7pm GMT.The photo is bad but it was a beautiful sight. The moon appears to be hanging directly below Venus as from a thread, and the two planets are brought into a harmonious partnership that brings out the benevolent side of both of them. The moon and Venus are both feminine planets associated with feelings, nurturing, beauty, attraction and the like, and when they come together in conjunction their influence is gentle, peaceful, loving. 

The moon travels swiftly so this won't last long. Look at the two tonight and you will see that she has moved on several degrees to the left as it is in this picture. But this is a reminder that while everything in the world seems to have been turned upside down over the last couple of weeks, the deep eternal truths remain as they were. The servants of God carry on with their business, sometimes supporting, sometimes chastising but always working towards the great end of instilling the whole of creation with the divine word before eventually raising it up in to the throne of God, purified and resplendent. Matter exists to glorify the Lord which means give full expression to the hidden majesty of God and enable his light to shine. Without the material world love and beauty could not be known. The moon and Venus are reminders of this holy truth.

Update 29th March 

Here's a picture of the Moon and Venus showing them 48 hours later. You can see how the moon has progressed in that time.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Wash the Virus Out of Your Mind

There is so much conflicting information about the severity of this coronavirus with official sources and the media all talking death and destruction and only a few more sober voices urging caution before giving up freedoms that, once given up for a first time, will be quite easy to take away again, that I have decided on the following course of action. It's based on advice from Jesus, than which there is none better in any situation.

I am going to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. Consequently, I shall continue to wash my hands regularly, observe government instructions about social distancing and take every precaution I can to make sure that no one in my household catches this infection. I shall avoid other people as much as possible when out walking and work from home as I must. But I will also make sure my mind is my own and not succumb to what seems to me very much like propaganda. I will not dismiss it as an egotistic contrarian might but I will not just accept it without seeking alternative opinions either. I am well aware that there are crackpots spouting all sorts of nonsense out there but there are intelligent and informed people too who take a different view to the party line and who have the intellectual wherewithal and substance to back it up.

Most of all, I will trust in God. I will not put God to the test which is the act of a prideful person not a faithful believer because it is saying that God will break his laws for you if you want him to. You are trying to manipulate him. That was one of the temptations that Jesus plainly showed we should not succumb to unless we think we are better than him. It is a temptation for the religious person who wants to show off his religiousness. So, I won't ignore caution and common sense. But I will trust God to send me the experiences I need, whatever they are. And I will put the reality of the higher world of love and truth and beauty in which no imperfection or nasty virus can be found above the passing problems of the world.

One thing we should all learn from the current crisis is that our world is very unstable and can collapse or be taken away from us at any moment. That is always the case, not just now. This has been brought into focus at the current time but is a permanent underlying truth. And what that means is we should not put our hopes and ambitions in worldly things. These are ephemeral. Ultimately, the only thing that we can rely on is God but we can rely on Him completely. If we can learn that lesson, the present difficulties will be one of the best things that could happen to us. So rather than see this as a disaster, see it as an opportunity to get things in their proper perspective.

Saturday 21 March 2020


Yesterday was the first day of spring. It may seem irrelevant that the present panic/crisis coincides with this time of the year but God speaks to us in a variety of ways, though rarely directly, and I like to think he is speaking to those of us who care to listen now. And what he is saying is this. 

Even at this time, when there is darkness all around, and fear and uncertainty and no one knows what to believe, look to the eternal truths. The beauty of life goes on. New life, new growth continues. Behind the chaos of the human world there is an underlying goodness and truth which is reflected in the cycles of nature and the patterns of life. You are frightened of death but look to the bigger picture. God has not abandoned you. He sees you have wandered far from him and he is giving you the opportunity to reflect on what really matters. You might have dedicated your life to a false idol, whether that be money, pursuit of pleasure or just the self. This idol will end up taking from you all you have, all you are. You will be left the husk of a person if you carry on worshipping it. But look up from the earth to the heavens and rejoice in the fact that God loves you. You have only to open your heart to him and it will be filled, not necessarily with happiness on a personal level but with understanding.

Spring is the season of hope. Out of the darkness and death of winter arises a new beginning. I would not normally bother to point out such a truism, but it seems appropriate to do so now, given the extraordinary period we are suddenly living through, though it has to be said that what is occurring now has been on the cards for quite some time.

On a totally different note, there was a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn in January. This lasts for about a year as Saturn moves forward then goes retrograde in May, going back to within a degree or so of Pluto in October, before moving forward again and going out of orb, as it is called, early next year. Saturn and Pluto are the two of the most difficult (in terms of the challenges they present to human consciousness) planets to deal with. Saturn represents restriction, limitation and what is hard and unyielding while Pluto symbolises forces of death, transformation and destruction. Put together and in Capricorn which is ruled by Saturn, meaning its effects are magnified because of a similarity of expression, they represent quite a package. What it means is that problems that have been suppressed or denied will be brought to a head. There will be no escaping them and they must be faced and dealt with. This will mean hard times but out of that may come, if one reacts with sense and really does face them, a new understanding. The potential for new life or death are both there.

The next year is going to be hard but remember the fresh growth in spring out of the hard ground of winter. Never give way to despair. Place your hope in God and it will be justified.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Dispelling Darkness

Perhaps the most serious thing about the present time is the creation of a great cloud of darkness and fear, started by what I am compelled to call the enemy and fed by human beings all over the world as they react to the media with its insistent focus on doom and disaster. This affects everyone and you can often sense it beneath an appearance of normality.

For those of us who believe there is more to this than meets the eye, and that the real purpose and long term goal may be quite other than what they appear to be, it is necessary to fight back. I mean fight back spiritually. It is a spiritual war we are engaged in and the weapons we use are different to regular war. Chief among them is the mind but not just the mind as the organ of thought. Thought is important. Right thought, thought based in understanding, is very necessary now more than ever but there is something else and that is imagination. The imagination is a powerful weapon which we should use to counter the spreading miasma of fear.

We must combat darkness with light though not necessarily light in the abstract sense which is hard to visualise for most people for any length of time. However, colour is the spiritual expression of light. Colours are qualities and they create psychological, even spiritual, effects. I believe the visualisation of the colours of blue and gold could aid in the dispelling of this growing darkness. Why not set aside a few minutes each day in which you sit quietly and visualise a bright, vivid, azure blue light, flecked with gleaming darts of shining gold? Intensify this visualisation as you proceed and project it out into the psychic atmosphere of our planet. This might conjure up the image of earnest meditators sitting around trying to stop war and hunger or whatever but it is less abstract than that, more practical, and, by focusing on something real, namely colour, easier to bring to life in the mind than vague and generalised pious hopes. Practise it as a form of contemplation or silent prayer, though a few words to accompany it would doubtless add to its power.

If you are a practical 21st century person, you might think this is a lot of nonsense but I have been assured it is effective, certainly on a personal level but it can also be on a more universal one. When the darkness gathers, it should not go unchallenged.

A picture of Mercury. The colours are real, but have been enhanced.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Plague and Death

I have nothing to contribute on the subject of the coronavirus scare as far as its spread and seriousness are concerned. I don't know if it is being used by governments to see how easily the populace can be controlled though I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. But it may have taken them by surprise and they are reacting as best they can with no motive other than to protect their countries (as well as look good so they can be returned to power later on). So I don't have anything to say about it from a political point of view and, not being a doctor, obviously not from a medical one. On the other hand, I believe I can say something about it from a spiritual point of view.

To begin with, I don't believe, as some have said (as they always do on such occasions), that it is a punishment from God for our wicked ways. It may be a consequence of our behaviour but it's not sent by God to chastise us. God does not punish, he teaches and he generally teaches subtly so that the lesson is learned at a deeper level than that of the emotions. Turning to God at a time of pandemic may be better than nothing but it does not really show how you will be when times are good and your panic has passed. But God does send us experiences and this could be one. How do we react in the face of a threat like this? With self-concern and fear or with an equanimity that accepts what is while in no way just succumbing to it? Trust in God and keep your powder dry is wonderful advice that applies to most situations and certainly to this one.

The real issue, though, is death. At a time like this the reality of that comes closer to all of us. The modern world is very good at shutting death out. We in the West live lives of unimaginable security and luxury compared to any previous generation. We are insulated from the harsh nitty gritty of life by our advanced medical knowledge and readily available healthcare. We have easy access to food, energy sources and good quality shelter. We turn on taps and out comes water whenever we want it. We press a switch and hey presto, light and heating are there. We are in danger of becoming spoilt and assuming that all that we have is somehow our natural right. But when something comes along that disrupts our regular life then we are posed certain questions.

For those of us who say we believe in God, the first question is do we, do we really? If our primary reaction is fear then our belief is not as it should be. Fear is natural but it should not be primary. We know that God is always there, "closer than breathing" in Tennyson's words. Now is our chance to put our belief into practice and perhaps that is the lesson that these crises help bring about. They show us or can do that there is something more than everyday material existence. They put things in perspective. Who are we? What are we? Just animals crawling about on the surface of the globe, looking to fulfil basic instinctual needs and desires or is there something more to us, and, if there is, how important is it? Could it be all-important, the actual purpose of everything else?

Well, all readers of this blog know the answer to that! We are spiritual beings on the earth to learn the lessons that will help us grow as spiritual beings. A time when the fundamentals of existence are brought to closer attention than normal is a necessary part of that growing process. Humanity today has completely forgotten what it is and what it is meant to be doing with itself in this world. A situation like this can, if we react to it correctly, call us back to our true nature. It can call us back to God.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Roads to Rome

Throughout the 20th century the common belief among many of those who studied spirituality was that all roads lead to Rome. That is to say, all religions teach more or less the same thing especially in their mystical forms. For some time, I believed this myself.  The idea was that mystics caught a glimpse of spiritual reality and expressed this in their own terms which were dictated by individual temperament and cultural conditioning. The form varied according to the vagaries of time and place but the underlying truth was one, expressed in different ways because essentially inexpressible.

I don't think this anymore. To take an obvious example, the teachings of Christ and the Buddha are not truly reconcilable. Heaven, where souls live in a relationship of love, united in Christ, cannot be equated to the state of Nirvana in which the whole idea of an individual soul is discarded. Some might claim that Nirvana is the higher state, a move into the absolute while heaven remains part of the relative world of duality in which the I still exists. I would say the opposite. Nirvana is basically a return to the uncreated state in which creation and its fruits are discarded. Heaven in contrast has added something to this state.  It has added the individual, a new God. It has multiplied reality, multiplied God, and it has added love. Don't mistake Buddhist compassion for love. They are not the same. One is purely passive but the other is active and creative. The Buddha rejects matter for spirit whereas Christ incorporates matter into spirit.  He is more. In him creation is brought to fruition, its purpose realised.  This doesn't mean the Buddhist way is false but if is a lesser thing because it assumes that the end state is a return to the beginning state with nothing added by the journey. And it thinks that reality is just the absolute state of non-expressed naked existence whereas it really comprises existence and expression, being and becoming together.  Two is more than one and together they produce a third.

Then there is Islam. This has been a problem from the beginning. Not just because it was spread by the sword which it was. That's a fact of history. And not just because its founder was clearly not a spiritual man. Certainly not in comparison with other religious teachers. His actions indicate that. He may have been the right man for the job in that time and place but his spiritual insights were not profound. No, the real problem is that Islam is a religion based on force. The God it worships is an authority figure whose will is law and to whom unquestioning obedience is owed or else.

Although it has its form of mysticism in Sufism, it is obvious that the source of the mystical elements there are Hindu advaita and Christian devotionalism. Sufism has certainly made something of its own from the ingredients and it does ground itself in the Koran, but can anyone really think that it is the Koran as it stands that inspires the spiritual depths that are assuredly present in Sufism? There is not this problem with the Gospels or the Bhagavad Gita which are profound scriptures, brimming with mystical insight. The Koran is simply not in that league as a spiritual document.

I would say Islam is based on a New Age type channelling which co-opts Christianity and Judaism to make its own quite different religion. Allah is not God as God is conceived in  Christianity. You can't have a relationship with him. He's like an overlord to whom you must submit. A Christian would also say that you must submit to God but you do so out of love not because of an unbendable authority.

Despite what I have written, I do think that devout and sincere aspiration to goodness, love and truth will always bring a person closer to God, whatever his religion. And the fact is that the religions do not stand isolated one from another as there has been cross-cultural influence. So, in that respect, all religions do offer paths to God. But they do not, in themselves, all teach the same thing and we should recognise this while also admitting that they are not as irreconcilable as used to be thought.

What about the idea that mystics of all religions describe similar states of consciousness? No doubt they do but mystical experience is not the point of the spiritual path. Mystics may well have similar experiences but that is because they have touched higher levels of reality. However, if this was the proper goal of religion we would have no reason to be born in this world. But we are born in the world and we are born here to learn and to experience and through that experience to forge for ourselves a soul that is worthy to stand in the presence of God. A soul purified of egotism and able to express itself in the fullness of love and creativity, centred in God. Not all religions understand this to the same degree, and it seems to me that only Christianity really understands it, placing it at the heart of its doctrines. True religion is not a search for higher consciousness, though that is a by-product. It is a means of soul transformation through self-sacrifice in love.

Clearly all religions are attempts to understand the world beyond this one and to put ourselves right with it. But they do this in different ways, not all equally correct. All roads may lead to Italy but they don't all lead to Rome.

Sunday 8 March 2020

It's Not AGW, It's AGM

Anthropogenic global warming is all the rage these days. It's become a dogma of the modern world, to dissent from which marks you out as a bad person and this means that most people don't even bother to investigate whether there is any truth in it. If you do investigate you see that the jury is still out and that, even if it is true, it may not be such a cause for concern as it is depicted. This clearly points to an underlying agenda. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that.

So I can't bring myself to be too excited by the idea of climate change. The climate is always changing, it's been warmer in the past and the contribution of human beings to CO2 in the atmosphere, though increasing to a large degree, is still a tiny proportion of what the normal processes of Nature shove up there. On the other hand, I am deeply concerned by something else that, for me, is far more serious and almost completely unrecognised. That is AGM, anthropogenic global materialisation.

What is this? Well, one way to describe it is as a general thickening of human consciousness as it detaches itself from acknowledgement of the spiritual world. This leads to the mind becoming enclosed within itself instead of open to what lies beyond itself, and a separation of the earthly human being from its roots in a higher reality. This, in turn, leads to human beings constructing a new and false reality to which they then have to conform, and that eventually leads to madness and destruction. The materialisation I speak of refers to the environment which, in response to the mind, actually becomes more opaque, more material, less able to serve as a veil to the spiritual. For you can see through a veil but you cannot see through a wall. And that is what we are doing, turning the material world from an opening to and reflection of higher realities to a barrier, an impenetrable barrier for most people, to them.

Mankind is a co-creator with God of the world. God creates the world but man then affects it through his thoughts and actions. When these turn to higher things, the outer world changes to reflect that. When they turn to lower things, material things seen as existing in their own right and impulses deriving from that attitude regarded as right and proper, the outer world solidifies. It grows a kind of crust not only to our perception but also in reality. To slip into New Age speak for a moment, its vibrations are lowered. We fall into a vicious circle with outer and inner both confirming, supporting and strengthening each other, and thus descend into ever greater spiritual loss.

The human impact on the environment, by which I mean not just the natural world but mental levels too, actual thought, does not discount the universal materialisation that takes place at the end of an age. But it adds to it. It will affect us all which is why this is no longer an age of miracles and the spiritual path, even when followed, does not offer the illuminations it used to. In Hindu scripture it is said that in the Kali Yuga it will be considered enough just to repeat God's name, so trying will be the conditions at that time. This idea is rather similar to the Jesus Prayer. However, God is still there if we turn to him. We may not feel his presence or not often but that is a test of our faith in a time of darkness and those who stay firm to the truth will win through. To quote a saying from The Imitation of Christ I've long been fond of, "You are not making progress if you receive God's grace but you are making progress if you bear the withdrawal of grace with patience, humility and resignation". The period of the withdrawal of grace is now. This is a test of the authenticity of the heart. It's easy to be spiritual if you spend your time in contemplative meditation, bathed in bliss. It's not easy when times are hard but that marks out the real lover of God from the one who just wants the gifts he has to offer.

Global warming, climate change, whatever it's called, is just a distraction from the truth. It's the hardening of the human heart and the effect this has on our spiritual and even physical environment that is the real problem. It's the materialisation of the world caused by the darkening of our minds that we should be worried about.

It's not AGW, it's AGM.  Another example of the modernistic inversion of reality.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Gautama and Jesus

One of the difficulties I had with Buddhism when I first learnt about it was that the whole process began with what I have to call a wrong action. I tried to ignore this because of the obvious profundities of the religion/philosophy but nevertheless it always nagged away at me. I can't say it makes Buddhism wrong but it somehow detracts from the rightness of it. There is nothing similar in the life of Christ which was without blemish from start to finish unless you count overturning the tables of the money changers at the temple or cursing a fig tree as in some way sinful which I don't. The former was making a point in the best way possible and shows that Christianity does not just turn the other cheek in all circumstances but distinguishes between a personal insult and an insult to God or truth (an important distinction) which sometimes requires firm action. The second was just odd. I suppose it has a symbolic point and demonstrates that if you have a creative gift you must use it, but it's still a strange episode.

The incident I am referring to in the life of the Buddha came right at the beginning of his spiritual journey. He left his wife and son. There is no getting away from this. He had a young wife and a baby boy and he abandoned them. This has been rationalised as either a sacrifice on his part or else a lesson for them. People say he had a mission and they say also that he knew they would be looked after as they were of the royal family. All of which may be true but the fact remains. He abandoned his family, and I do wonder if the knowledge that he had done this encouraged or was used to justify others to do the same. I can't think this is right. Surely your responsibilities come first? If you are wanting to lead a spiritual life, you cannot start by neglecting them.

I know the stories say that the Buddha did not do this easily and I know his wife and child later joined him as disciples. Moreover, two and a half thousand years ago it was a different world but still, and this is the point of my discussing this episode, it is important to make clear that we do not become spiritual by neglecting our worldly duties. Indeed, sometimes it is through fulfilling such mundane duties that we actually progress along the path and grow in the kind of self-sacrifice that the spiritual aspirant all too often forgets is at the heart of the spiritual journey. I know I do, in practice if not in theory.

I don't doubt that the Buddha was a special case. I have enormous love and respect for him and his achievement. I really do. But ultimately he was a man with human limitations and no man is perfect. He was not without sin as Christ was. It is of the greatest importance that we have someone who lived on this earth who really was perfect. It lifts up the whole world and strikes a deadly blow at the heart of evil from which it can never recover.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Taking Stock

This blog is now seven years old which seems a good time to look back and reflect on the course it has taken since it began at the end of February 2013.

I started the blog a few months after the publication of my Meeting the Masters book, intending to develop themes from that book. Meeting the Masters was autobiographical in the sense that it was an account of my experience as a young man with spiritual beings who instructed me on the path that leads the earthly soul to God, tailored to my particular needs and deficiencies. But, given that this path is more or less the same for everyone, the teachings contained in the book had much wider application. There was nothing new in these teachings but to be told something by someone who embodies the truth of what he is saying is very different to being told that same thing by someone who may know it but has not completely interiorised it which is the case with the vast majority of spiritual teachers in this world. It makes it come alive. So I would say that my understanding of spirituality revolves around three things. Intellectual knowledge, personal intuition and faith (included as one thing) and the experience of having met and spoken to beings who are what they know. Of the three, this last is the most significant from an immediate point of view though intuition is ultimately the most important as it is that inner knowledge which will eventually transform an individual.

This first book was framed from within the context of a general spirituality though there are intimations throughout of a Christian leaning or, at least, a spiritual world view that is based on the Christian understanding of the human soul and its purpose and destiny. This is to become a creative god, a God in miniature. When I began blogging I was still writing from within that more universalist context but as time went by the figure of Christ became more and more important to me.  Christ had always been the essence of what I understood by spirituality but I had not sufficiently appreciated the extent to which everything else stood in his shadow. I suppose I was still under the influence of the 20th century point of view that sees all spiritual paths as saying the same thing only in different language. But a little reflection shows that's just not true. There is, for example, a fundamental difference between the Christian goal of theosis and the Buddhist one of Nirvana even if they can look roughly similar from the outside. And the Christian God really is radically different to the Muslim one. It's the difference between love and law or God as Father and friend and God as supreme master to whom unquestioning obedience is owed.

My second book Remember the Creator was an attempt to come to terms with these ideas and demonstrate that Christ is the foundation of truth and that what he taught takes us more deeply into the mind and heart of God than anything else. His life shows us the path to follow if we would fulfil God's will for us. This is not to escape creation for an uncreated absolute of perfect stillness and peace but to transform creation and raise it up, through the medium of our own self, into the light of God. The key to this is an understanding that suffering is not a universal evil from which we need to escape but a means of spiritual redemption through transforming it by self-sacrifice in love. Other spiritual approaches talk of love because they must but it is only through the path laid out by Christ that true spiritual love can be known. Without Christ we might have a generalised sort of compassion but we would not have love.

When I began my spiritual journey I was mostly focussed on myself. I don't mean this in a bad way but my purpose was to realise truth within myself. The world was there but I didn't pay much attention to it. However, as time went by I saw that to separate oneself from the world leads to a kind of spiritual lop-sidedness. This is particularly the case now when the world has turned to evil. There has always been evil in the world but, in the Christian West at least and elsewhere too but perhaps not to the same extent, good and evil have been clearly identified. Not now. We live during a time of value inversion and at such a time any person claiming some sort of spiritual orientation must stand up for the real good, both for his own sake (if he doesn't, he will get sucked into evil as that becomes the mundane and everyday) and for the sake of anyone he might come into contact with who is looking for guidance and help - whether they know it or not.  This understanding led to the writings that make up my third book, The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man. For, make no mistake, it is a crisis we are in at the moment and there is no sign we are getting out of it. The worldly attempts to address the situation through such superficial and frankly self-indulgent things as politics or, the latest fad, action on climate change don't even begin to address the roots of the problem.

Things go round in circles or, at any rate, cycles. I am now 64 years old. I suspect that I shall eventually return to a more contemplative mode of life in preparation for leaving this world. Then I might see writing about spiritual matters as a distraction from the essential. At the moment, though, it's still a way of developing and sharing a degree of understanding.