Tuesday 28 September 2021

Even the Greatest Saints Prayed

 So the Masters told me when I was in the first flush of enthusiasm for meditation. But actually you could say especially the greatest saints prayed.

Something I have noticed more and more, though it's been around a long time, is that if you ask someone if they believe in God they will often, assuming they say yes, redefine God to mean something else. So they might say that yes, I believe in God. He is the One Life or he is the Self that exists within us all or he is the unmanifested Void that exists in the space between vibrations or he is what I am in my truest and best self. But all this means he is not he at all. He is it.

I would question anyone who says he believes in God but then turns God into an impersonal force or abstraction or cosmic absolute. God is not an energy that we can tap into to further ourselves, even further ourselves spiritually. He is not an impersonal Nothingness even if that nothingness be regarded as the seedbed of all existence. That concept, by the way, applies more to the chaos of matter before it is 'breathed' on by God and stirred into active existence, and those who plunge in their meditations into the Void might consider whether they are actually engaging in a positive spiritual practice or returning their consciousness to its pre-created state which is not necessarily the way forward.

Mystical spirituality attracts two types of people. Those who love God and those who want to become God or believe they already are God. At the extremes these are represented by Christ and Satan which should sound a note of warning to the latter type who might see God as impersonal being and therefore regard the spiritual path as one of knowledge or awareness. So it is but it is primarily a path of love and if love is not the driving force for your spiritual journey you risk going off the road. Prayer is love. That is what it essentially is, and love is directed towards a personal being. God is a personal being not an impersonal energy and that is why the saints all pray. Certainly there are deep states of consciousness available to those who seek a God of impersonal being but these are outside Heaven. The perfection of prayer is what heaven is.

Thursday 23 September 2021

Secular Spirituality

 One of the problems of living at the present time is that not only is it a time of materialism and atheism but that when individuals do turn to the spiritual they often take large chunks of the materialistic, atheistic culture in which they grew up with them. They retain inbuilt assumptions of the secular world.  Nowadays this is usually (though not always) in the form of leftist ideology which most people don't realise is formed from a rejection of God and religion and an attempt to supplement these spiritual realities with an earthly simulacrum of them with the earthly human being at the centre. This means that their version of spirituality is a post-Enlightenment, post-French Revolution version, both of which were actively anti-spiritual. Such people are left with a form of spirituality which is focussed on humanity rather than God which gives them a kind of cognitive dissonance. As I said in a previous post, we need to see the spiritual in its own terms and from its own perspective not in our worldly, human terms. And yet this latter is precisely what so many people now do. They see the spiritual as something that should operate to benefit the human being as the human being is here and now in its fallen state. This effectively means you can have spirituality without repentance which is a sad distortion of the truth.

I have heard people claim that spiritual feelings are natural human feelings and that you can pursue spiritual values and believe in transcendence, love, peace, wisdom etc without worrying about God or Christ or the afterlife or anything religious. They are mistaken. Your feelings are not truth. They might be based on truth (they might be based on a lot of other things too) but they are still just your personal feelings. You must  go beyond them to their real source. And their real source, if they are authentic and not just wishy-washy indulgences, is God. You cannot separate the fruit from the tree and if you do so the fruit will quickly rot. That is the problem. Unless you root your spiritual feelings in their source they will remain shallow and then decay and become caricatures of themselves, pale copies of reality, things that you feel you feel but don't really feel. 

Modern forms of spirituality are often just forms of psychological therapy and ignore the spiritual fundamentals of repentance and belief in God. You are not a child of God now simply by believing yourself to be so. The bridge to that state remains narrow, the sacrifice demanded remains extreme for it is that of your worldly self. That self as it is cannot be spiritualised which is a common error made by those whose idea of spirituality is their feelings. It must be given to God. Not as a theory but in reality, and for this to be real demands complete acceptance of God as a real being not just some vague, amorphous abstraction that you keep at a safe distance.

You might think you can have spirituality without God but that is a trick of the devil. The only valid approach that has ever tried that is the Buddhist one which is why Buddhism is popular among the spiritually deracinated these days. But two things need to be understood. Firstly, Buddhism was traditionally always a monastic religion, and I emphasise both words. Buddhism may not have been theistic but it still demanded an intense religious approach not a secular one. And two, for all the later attempts to compensate for this, Buddhism is essentially a creation-rejecting spirituality which denies the goodness of the self. But God had a purpose in creation. His aim was not to return to the unformed state but to bring the beauty of matter into harmony with the truth of spirit and make something new.

But anyway, contemporary secular spirituality often owes more to Jung than the Buddha, and while Jung is praised for bringing the spiritual to the psychological you could equally well say he did the opposite and brought the spiritual down to the psychological level thereby secularising it and robbing it of its spiritual truth.

Sunday 19 September 2021

More on Differences Between Buddhism and Christianity

 The publisher of my new book Earth is a School is in the process of arranging some potential radio interviews on spiritual channels to promote it. To support this I was asked to provide a list of talking points, and some of the programme hosts have queried my belief that Jesus Christ stands above all other spiritual teachers and that both his work and his person are qualitatively different to anything that went before, or has come after for that matter. Now, I think of myself as a Christian but I understand and can sympathise with this position. I have almost (though never completely) shared it myself in the past. It is very reasonable. The spiritual is the spiritual, is it not? Truth is truth. There can only be one truth, especially if we are talking about mystical realisation.

Well, yes and no. There is, of course, only one Truth but more and more of it can be unveiled. This is what infinite and eternal means. I realise that many would say that the Buddha went beyond all veils, penetrated to the unborn, undying absolute behind the world of relativities and I don't argue with that, but did he lose something in the process? Did he lose his human personality? The fact is that before Jesus all the great sages (and note they were sages not saints) taught that God, spirit, whatever it was, could only be attained by complete detachment from phenomenal being. The resulting state of spiritual realisation brought compassion but it did not bring love for it effectively rejected the individual for the universal. Love needs individuals. It is meaningless in terms of Nirvana. Despite what you might have been told, love is not possible for those who seek liberation for what is liberation if not liberation from identification with the self and not just my self but anyone else's self?

Before the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension the serious spiritual goal was Nirvana, to escape matter completely, but Christ healed the split between Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, being and the phenomenal world, and enabled a loving marriage between them rather than a divorce. He returned  the creation (potentially for we, individual souls, still have  to accept his offer) to what it would have been like before the Fall. The idea of the Fall, by the way, exists in Buddhism too though it is not known by that name. But its effects are what prompted Siddhartha to go on his journey, causing him to abandon his wife and child, an action that rather brings out the difference between the two saviours. It is symbolic of his renunciation of the world but it must also be regarded as wrong from the point of view that sees the personal, and therefore personal responsibility, as real.

People can be confused by the assertion that Christ goes further and reveals something more than any other teacher by the fact that most of his teachings are not really that different to those of other spiritual teachers. But why would they be? He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfil them. There are, however, some significant differences. For example, the Christian emphasis on the individual and on love. This did not exist, certainly not to the fullest degree, before and it points to the healing of the self rather than its destruction or transcendence or seeing as unreal if you prefer those words though it amounts to the same thing.

But the most important difference was the person of Christ himself. When he says "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" he gives us a teaching that goes far beyond anything that had come before. The Buddha, who I am taking here as the pre-eminent universal spiritual teacher both before and after Christ which he was, could potentially have said this but he would have been speaking in an abstract sense as in 'the I AM'. Christ, however, was speaking quite literally of himself and to know this, really know it, is to be given a spiritual teaching on a much higher level than any other theory or practise for this is a teaching that speaks to the soul rather than the mind or intellect.

Jesus said he did not come to bring peace but a sword. This is a strange thing for a spiritual teacher to say but it should make us consider whether there might not be something valuable in duality, that bugbear of universalistic spiritual teachings. Is it just something to overcome in consciousness or does it actually contain a truth to which we should pay attention? The spiritual path gives us two options and we can take either. Faced with the fact of the self and the world we can turn aside from both as unreal/false/the result of ignorance or we can incorporate both in an understanding that sees them as currently diseased but curable. The cure is in the love that is embodied in Christ. Is the personal the blot on existence or is it the whole point of existence?

I know that people may tell me that other religions contain teachings that incorporate the value of the personal. I would suggest that all these come from after the time of Christ and are due to him operating through those religions, imparting something of a Christian flavour to them, using the word Christian here to refer to Christ himself not the Christian religion specifically. Therefore salvation may be found in all religions that are open to this influence. But it is Christ that works here, his influence, his being. For religion has evolved and the religion that has its centre in the living personal God is of a higher order than one that prioritises impersonal, abstract being. Union with God goes beyond Nirvana, liberation, enlightenment because it includes all there is to that and adds relationship or love.

The last words of the Buddha were along these lines. "All individual things pass away, work out your salvation with diligence." This is profound advice, albeit somewhat remote. The last  recorded words of Jesus according to St Matthew were "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." For me this draws out the difference between the two saviours and please note that I do call the Buddha a saviour for such he was in the context of his time and for centuries after, even for many today. Nevertheless, this does not alter the fact that Jesus goes further for he brought a higher truth to this world, the truth of divine love.

I was born a Christian then went away from ordinary Christianity and explored many other spiritual philosophies. I believe that has given me a better understanding of the truths of Christianity itself. I am not saying everyone has to do this but it has benefitted me. My intuition has always been that Christ is qualitatively different to every other teacher but it has not always been easy to articulate how and why. The essence of this, though, is in the word redemption.

I have a final point to make on this subject and it relates to my experience with the Masters. Given the emphasis on the personal in this analysis that seems appropriate. It's possible that the reason I feel obliged to talk about this matter is that ties in with a mistake I myself made at one time.  This is an extract from a conversation I had with the Masters. It was about the need for humility, a virtue, incidentally, that makes no sense if the self is not real anymore than love does.

The Master Jesus and all the Masters of old had preached humility and demonstrated it too. They knew that they were as nothing and that all they were came from the Creator. 

From the Creator. God exists. He is not something to go beyond, rise above, see through, transcend. At the same time, we ourselves also exist. We are not nothing. We are as nothing but that is not being nothing and is only said to remind us that everything does indeed come from the Creator. Buddhism correctly teaches the ephemeral nature of the phenomenal self. But behind this phenomenal self there is a real individual soul. We must certainly die to the phenomenal self but that is not so we are reabsorbed into the whole. It is so that the risen soul may unite in love with God, and this union has been made possible through Christ, his birth, life on Earth and self-sacrifice. It is open to all.

Friday 17 September 2021

Domestic Terrorism

I don't write much about current events because they don't interest me in themselves, only in how they reflect spiritual gain or, more likely and almost always these days, spiritual loss. But I should say a word about what is going on now because it is so extreme. Briefly, almost every government in every country of the world is engaged in practising psychological terrorism on its peoples. And not only the governments but the whole establishment, the media, academia, the whole lot of them.

We are lied to every day. We are bullied and threatened until most of us are completely cowed. I don't doubt this has been going on a long time but it has really grown wings and flown recently. What was occasional has become habitual. Politicians don't even know any longer how to speak the truth. They don't even try to communicate honestly. They just aim to manipulate, and the media is the same. Don't think its representatives are any better.

We fuss so much about religious terrorism (only one religion if truth be told) and that is the reason for so much wringing of hands over Afghanistan, a country that would be best left alone as history clearly tells us. And then we fuss over domestic terrorism, the result of importing so many young men who either won't or can't adapt to our admittedly rotten culture. But the real domestic terrorism of the last 18 months has been from our own governments and establishment. Most of them certainly won't see it like that but those for whom they ultimately work know it for what it is and we too should recognise what it is, where it comes from and where it wants to take us.

Here's the thing. These people can't win unless you accept their authority over you. And they have no authority over you. The only one who has authority over you is God and he lets you make your own choices. You have to accept the consequences of those choices but you are given chance after chance to get it right. So, make the right choice. Reject the world and turn to God in whom is all goodness and truth. By the way, the division of the ways is becoming ever more clear and that is the positive aspect of the times in which we live.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Is Spirituality about Seeking Joy?

 Many people, especially those attracted to New Age type spirituality, think it is. It's all about replacing the stress and antagonism in your life and your relationships with love and peace and joy. That's a reasonable motivation but it is not what the true religious life is about at all. It is, when you come down to it, rather self-seeking, is it not? Everyone wants to be happy. There's nothing wrong with that, but the spiritual life is about growing in the love and service of God and that does not, in this world, necessarily include personal happiness.

We should certainly have an open  and positive attitude and a cheerful disposition. Nobody is inspired by a long face and a miserable approach to life. However, if we take to the spiritual path for reasons of personal emotional satisfaction, which is basically what people mean when they talk of love and joy, we might find we eventually come to a brick wall. Not at first but sooner or later. Then we can only preserve this love and joy by talking about it to others but we need the energy from those others to maintain our 'high'. This is not the way forward.

The material world is not meant as a place of spiritual fulfilment. It is a place of learning. The saints were often people who suffered a great deal but they did this with the love of God in their hearts so they suffered joyfully if one can put it like that. But they suffered. They were not bathed in peace and joy all the time and often not at all. They took up the cross and that is what we are expected to do as we mature in spiritual understanding. To be brutally honest, love and peace and joy are for beginners, those who must be drawn to the spiritual life with sweets*. Then it's down to work and the work might be hard. God does not want people after their own pleasure. He wants those who are prepared to suffer and sacrifice. For this is what real love is and this is how real love is proved.

* When I wrote this it rang a bell and I remembered something the Masters told me which I put in my Meeting the Masters book. As it's relevant to the present subject I will add it here.   

We pay you the compliment of assuming you no longer need to be fed sweets in order to make you behave. Do you think that the spiritual path is the path of pleasure and self-gratification? Do you follow the path for what advantages it brings you or because it is the way of truth? Let me tell you that if someone is given constant ecstasies they are unlikely to make further progress and could well slip back. They will become attached to these feelings and see no reason to go any further along the way. Many people have become stuck at a certain stage of the path thinking they have reached the end. 

Sunday 12 September 2021

Valentin Tomberg on the Difference Between Buddhism and Christianity

In my last post I responded to a comment about the difference between the teachings of the Buddha and those of Christ by drawing attention to the lack of the idea of God in Buddhism which I consider to be a serious omission that cannot just be glossed over. By pure coincidence, I was looking through some documents on an old computer yesterday and found this passage which must have impressed me enough to keep a copy. It's by Valentin Tomberg and I assume, though am not certain, comes from his classic Meditations on the Tarot, a book I have had on my shelves for 30 years but never got round to reading properly though I have read selections from it. Don't ask me why but it might be because it's nearly 700 tightly packed pages long. I have CDs from that long ago which remain unplayed too. Not something to be proud of, I know. 

I have italised points I find particularly pertinent. 

"Buddha saw that the world is sick —and, considering it incurable, he taught the means to leave it. Christ, also, saw that the world is sick unto death, but he considered it curable and set to work the force for healing the world — that which manifests itself through the Resurrection. Here is the difference between the faith, hope and love of the Master of Nirvana and that of the Master of the Resurrection and the Life. The former said to the world. "You are incurable; here is the means for putting an end to your suffering —to your life." The latter said to the world, "You are curable: here is the remedy for saving your life." Two doctors with the same diagnosis — but a world of difference in the treatment! 

There are two answers to the question, "What is innate human evil?" The one given by the left wing of traditional Wisdom — is "ignorance"; the other - given by the right wing of traditional Wisdom —is the sin of illicit knowledge. The difference consists in that the oriental tradition puts the accent on the cognitive aspect of the fact of discord between human consciousness and cosmic reality, whilst the occidental tradition puts it on the moral aspect of this same fact. The difference between the two traditions is that in the oriental tradition one aspires to divorce in the marriage of the "true Self and the "empirical self, whilst the occidental tradition regards this marriage as indissoluble. The "true Self", according to the occidental tradition, cannot or should not rid itself of the "empirical self by repudiating it. The two are bound by indissoluble links for all eternity and should together accomplish the work of re-establishing the "likeness of God". It is not the freedom of divorce but rather that of reunion which is the ideal of the occidental tradition. 

Now, we occultists, magicians, esotericists and Hermeticists — all those who want to "do" instead of merely waiting, who want "to take their evolution in their own hands" and "to direct it towards an aim"—are confronted with this choice in a much more dramatic way, I should say, than is so for people who are not concerned with esotericism. Our principal danger (if not the only true danger) is that of preferring the role of "builders of the tower of Babel" (no matter whether personally or in a community) to watching over "as gardeners or vine-growers the garden or the vine of the Lord". Truth to tell, the only truly morally founded reason for keeping esotericism "esoteric", i.e. for not bringing it to the broad light of day and popularising it, is the danger of the great misunderstanding of confusing the tower with the tree, as a consequence of which "masons" will be recruited instead of "gardeners". The sixteenth Major Arcanum of the Tarot is therefore a warning addressed to all authors of "systems", where an important role is assigned to a mechanical ingredient — intellectual, practical, occult, political, social and other systems. It invites them to devote themselves to tasks of growth instead of those of construction — to tasks as "cultivators and guardians of the garden".

The transcendental Self is not God. It is in his image and after his likeness, according to the law of analogy or kinship, but it is not identical with God. There are still several degrees on the ladder of analogy which separate it from the summit of the ladder —from God. Therefore, if Avatars are descents of the divine, Buddhas are ascents of the human —they are culminating points of stages of humanism in the process of evolution. The difference between the "revelatory ones" (Avatars and Imams) and the "awakened ones" (Buddhas) is analogous to that between "saints" and "righteous men" in the Judaeo-Christian world. Here "saints" correspond to Avatars in that they represent the revelation of divine grace through them and in them, and "righteous men" correspond to Buddhas in that they bring to evidence the fruits of human endeavour. The work of Jesus Christ differs from that of Avatars in that it signifies the expiatory sacrifice for completely fallen mankind. This means to say that mankind, who before Jesus Christ had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death, is put in the position, since the mystery of Calvary, of transforming it —the Christian ideal being "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation xxi, 1). The mission of an Avatar, however, is "the liberation of the good" in this fallen world, without even attempting to transform it. It is a matter in the work of Jesus Christ of universal salvation — the work of divine magic and divine alchemy, that of the transformation of the fallen world — and not only of the liberation of the good. The work of Jesus Christ is the divine magical operation of love aiming at universal salvation through the transformation of mankind and of Nature. After Jesus Christ —the God-Man, who was the complete unity not only of spirituality and intellectuality, but also of divine will and human will, and even of divine essence and human essence —the work of the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality can be nothing other than the germination of the Christ seed in human nature and consciousness. In other words, it is a matter of the progress of the Christianisation of mankind, not only in the sense of a growing number of baptised people, but above all in the sense of a qualitative transformation of human nature and consciousness. 

 And just as there are ecstasies and illuminations from the Holy Spirit, so there are intoxications from the spirit of mirage —which is named the "false Holy Spirit" in Christian Hermeticism. Here is a criterion for distinguishing them: if you seek for the joy of artistic creation, spiritual illumination and mystical experience, you will inevitably more and more approach the sphere of the spirit of mirage and become more and more accessible to it; if you seek for truth through artistic creation, spiritual illumination and mystical experience, you will then approach the sphere of the Holy Spirit, and you will open yourself more and more to the Holy Spirit. The revelations of truth issuing from the Holy Spirit bring with them joy and consolation (consolatory spirit = Paraclete), but are only followed by the joy which results from the revealed truth (spirit of truth— —spiritus veritatis; cf. John xvi, 13). whilst the revelations that we have called "mirages" follow the joy —they are born from the joy. (A mirage is not the same thing as a pure and simple illusion —a mirage being a "floating" reflection of a reality—but it is "floating", i.e. outside of the context of objective reality with its moral, causal, temporal and spatial dimensions). This is why the mystics of eastern Christianity do nor tire of warning beginners of the danger that they call "seductive illumination" (prelestnoye prosveshtcheniye in Russian) and insist upon the nakedness of spiritual experience, i.e. on experience of the spiritual world stripped of all form, all colour, all sound and all intellectuality. The intuition alone of divine love with its effect on moral consciousness is —they teach —the sole experience to which one should aspire. What renders such an intellectual mirage all the more dangerous is that it is not, as a general rule, purely and simply a delusion or illusion. It is a mixture of truth and illusion, mixed in an inextricable way. The true serves to prop up the false and the false seems to lend the true a new splendour. It is therefore a mirage and not pure illusion, which would be easier to perceive. Mirages are above all frequent in the case of relationships between persons of the opposite sex who feel drawn to one another. It then often happens that the qualities, and even the identity, of one soul are projected upon another. The conclusion which asserts itself from all that we have said above concerning the sphere of mirages is that practical esotericism demands at least the same prudence as exact science, but the prudence that it demands is of a nature that is not only intellectual but also, and above all, moral. In fact, it encompasses the whole human being with his faculties of reasoning, imagination and will. It is therefore a matter of being prudent. For an illusion stemming from the sphere of mirages can bowl you over, whilst a true revelation from above can take place in the guise of a scarcely perceptible inner whispering. For the sphere of mirages, also, is real — but reality is one thing and truth is another thing. A mirage is certainly real, but it is not true; it is deceiving."

There are really two points being made here, each one of supreme importance for the contemporary spiritual aspirant. The first is that, tempting as it may be because of its profound psychological and spiritual insights, Buddhism belongs on a lower plane of spiritual truth than Christianity which incorporates and then transforms both the created world and the human soul. This can only be done through Christ. The second is that it is motive rather than technique that is key as regards spiritual progress. There are experiences available to the questing soul which it might mistake as spiritually extraordinary but which are nonetheless what Tomberg calls mirages. Not completely false but imitations of reality. Love of God and proper spiritual discernment are two qualities that the aspirant simply cannot do without.

The key point is that the Buddha was a human being who taught the highest a human being could go unaided. But Christ was a divine being, indeed, a Christian would correctly say he was the divine being, who brought something new which was the redemption and transformation of the fallen self rather than its extinction for absorption into Nirvana. However, I would add that the incarnation of Christ affected other spiritual approaches that were open to this new divine energy and the Mahayana was a response to that. So Christ can be present in all religions to a degree even if he is obviously most fully present in Christianity.

Thursday 9 September 2021

We Are All One

 It is a popular and almost unquestioned truism of modern spirituality that everything is one. We are all connected, all brothers and sisters in the great family of humanity with a deep unity that ultimately overrides all other considerations. I went along with this idea myself once because it seems true in an underlying spiritual sense. After all, there's only one God, one Creator. I had reservations but took it as broadly true.

But what if it's not true or, at least, not as true as it is taken to be? To begin with, from a Christian perspective we are all one in Christ but for that to be the case we have to accept Christ. We are not all one outside Christ and even if you extend this to a more universal plane to mean we are all one in God then we surely still have to accept the reality and truth and meaning and fact of God? We have to respond to God within us and do so on a spiritual rather than mere intellectual or emotional plane. Only then can we meet in a real unity.

Then there are good grounds for thinking that the present time is not one of unity but of separation, of dividing the sheep from the goats. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace (unity) but a sword (division). This is often ignored by those who wish to paint a picture of a false Jesus who loves humanity in its fallen state more than he loves God. Of course, Jesus does love humanity but he does not love the fallen state and he wants to redeem us from that state and bring us to the reality of God. But for that to happen we must repent our evil nature. Yes, our evil nature. We cannot continue in the worldly path and expect God's love to operate regardless. God may love all human beings but above all he loves truth and he loves those more who reflect his own truth back to him.

The modern world demands that we accept everyone on their own terms. We are all one regardless of what we are. Essentially, this puts quantity above quality. It is totally at odds with the true spiritual attitude which reverses that hierarchy and sees that what you are is much more important than the basic fact that you are. Spiritual unity can only come about at higher level and to know this unity you have to fit yourself for that level which means respond to spirit. The material world is not the world of unity but of separation and to force unity onto it on its own level is to create a lie. No wonder that agenda is being pushed so hard in this day and age when spiritual truth is being parodied and reinterpreted in material terms to deflect us from the hard (for the ego) facts of reality.

There is another point to take into consideration on this matter of oneness. Evolution is a growing out from sameness to difference. We become more individual as we evolve not less. Insects are a lower form of life than animals, and the higher animals show more individuality than the lower ones. Then when you get to the human kingdom you have real individuals. This no doubt continues. The glory of the saints is that they are so individual, all one in God but fully themselves too. And there is no one in the history of humanity more individual than Christ which is partly why the force of his personality persists through the centuries. He is not a cardboard cut-out saviour but a wholly unique person, as we all are and we will become more so as we progress into the heart of God. That journey brings out our uniqueness. It does not obliterate it in some faceless, tasteless spiritual porridge. The very fact of love proves this. You can't have love in oneness, not real love of the sort that lays down its life for its friends. Love needs separation. Love is the denial of oneness.

Sunday 5 September 2021

What is the Heart?

 We often talk about the heart when discussing spiritual matters but this can seem frustratingly vague to those who don't grasp what is meant by that. It is not instinct, it is not emotion and it is certainly not the regular mind, It is something more than any of these. I came across a definition the other day which makes a lot of sense. The heart is where the blood meets the spirit. I like this because it implies the union of spirit and matter to make something more than either of them on its own which, to my way of thinking, is the whole point of creation, evolution, the whole game of life. Through creation God expresses himself and through expressing himself he knows himself better. He also knows love which he cannot really do in his unmanifested solitary state. Strange but true.

The heart is the spiritual organ of perception roughly equivalent to the intuition. It is feeling but not feeling as we generally know it because it is both subjective and objective at the same time. This is how God sees things and it is the simplest way of seeing in which knowing and being are all one. What the heart feels, it knows and what it knows it is. Obviously at our early stage of development this is intermittent and incomplete but the fact remains that the awakening of the heart is the entry requirement for spiritual life. For many people just becoming aware of the heart in its spiritual sense there is much confusion between it and their own emotions with the latter muddying the purity of the spiritual water. But if one clears one's mind of its ideological conditioning and wishful thinking, and moves beyond feelings based on personal likes and dislikes to what you might think of as the Feeling Principle which for Christians would be feeling rooted in the reality of Christ rather than centred on their own little self, then there is a gradual cleansing of emotion so that it can be transformed into the feeling/knowing of the heart. Jesus said "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he". Note that he said thinks not feels. The heart thinks as it feels and it feels as it thinks. On this level there is no difference.

Blood means something spiritually. It is what you are. It is not just the red stuff that is pumped round your veins by the heart muscle. It contains something intrinsic to your self which previous generations understood. (As in, we are of the same blood.) Where the blood, which is the essence of you, meets spirit which is the essence of God, there is the spiritual heart and that is where the soul blossoms. When this meeting takes place you then rise up out of your normal material self into spiritual being and see the world anew. Those who have not undergone this renewal might dismiss it and its fruits, which are spiritual insight and knowledge, as imaginary but if they purified their blood, which means cleansed the soul of its materialistic impulses, they would understand. Then they too would awaken to the reality of the heart and its pristine knowledge of God.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Peace to Men of Good Will

 "Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis."

So sang the heavenly host at the nativity of Jesus but what exactly is the good will of which they sing? Normally it is taken to mean men who wish their fellow men well, decent people, well-meaning people, something along those lines. But this can be extended to the secular world without any reduction of sense and so I think such an interpretation is wrong.

The one thing we have that God cannot coerce is our free will. Our time on Earth is precisely to test this will and see where it goes, to God or to self with self not simply meaning selfishness or egotism but not God, the human rather than the divine. Consequently, I believe that good will can be taken to mean correctly oriented will and that means will oriented to God. Men of good will are men who have handed over their being, in love not through fear or submission to authority, to God. Good and God are in this sense the same thing. Good will is the will of God. The good refers to spiritual good not the worldly variety which may or may not coincide with the former. The former will include the latter but it will go beyond it and it will certainly not prioritise it.

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said this. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall. enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." This is good will.