Friday 31 March 2023

Intelligence and Vision

 When intelligence, as in IQ, reaches a certain point if it is not complemented by intuition it turns in on itself and becomes destructive. It is not the stupid or the average who destroy civilisation and true culture. It is the bright and brainy who have failed to develop intuitive vision because they have stunted their spiritual growth who do this. And the reason their spiritual growth is stunted is because of wrong motivation. That is why I say they have stunted their own growth. Their intelligence has led them to over-estimate themselves and their capabilities and they have pushed away God. They do not realise or will not accept that they are dependent on God for everything. Earlier this week I had an operation to remove a cataract on my right eye. Lying on the operating table with my eyelids taped open I knew I was completely in God's hands - and the surgeon's, of course! But the point is we like to think we are independent and while to a certain extent we are, in reality we rely on God for everything from the air we breathe to the functioning of our heart and lungs and even our ability to think. Everything comes down to our Creator upon whom we are more reliant than even children are on their parents.

There is a proper developmental progression if it is not interrupted. Our knowing faculties should advance from instinct to intellect to intuition. Each one takes over from the previous and builds upon it. Each one is more conscious and wider ranging than the last.  If this process stalls or fails to proceed as it should then the negative qualities of whatever capacity is the highest at that point become apparent and take over. Looking at the last 150 years (a random figure but not without some substance) this should be obvious. In all fields there has been spiritual deterioration and destruction. We think we are more compassionate than our forebears and we may well be but that is because we have removed our focus from the spiritual plane entirely to the material. Therefore we may be more concerned with the realities of that plane but we are correspondingly less concerned with higher planes. Physical suffering arouses our compassion but spiritual darkness leaves us unmoved. Ultimately, as Jesus demonstrated and as the early Christian martyrs showed, it is spiritual darkness that is the greater evil. This clearly doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to physical suffering. The point being made here is simply that when you deny the spiritual you place more importance on the material but then greater evils may pass unnoticed.

The intellectual phase is that time when we are furthest removed from God and Nature. We live without proper reference to either of them as should be obvious from our behaviour today, our behaviour on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum one should say. It is currently more obvious on the left what with all the woke nonsense which is a specific denial of the reality of natural laws and ways of being, never mind the laws of God. But the right without God has desecrated the Earth in its pursuit of money and power so one can hardly say it is much better. All these people have intelligence (though in the case of the woke, not much) but no intuitive connection to reality. Some of them might think they do but that is because they mistake wishful thinking for intuitive vision which a prejudiced mind finds easy to do.

It was probably accepted by the spiritual powers that be that human beings would temporarily desert God as they developed their own faculties of thought and agency. This was perhaps necessary but it should only have been brief in duration. If humans had been motivated by an honest search for truth it would have been brief. Unfortunately, many of us were not well motivated. The inner corruption of stronger souls led many of them to reject God and weaker souls followed in their wake. This has led to our current state of spiritual apostasy. The only solution is for us to move beyond mere intelligence to intuition but we must make sure it is genuine intuition and that requires humility and a certain love of truth or else our future state will be worse than our present one.

What can remove the cataract on our spiritual eye? The surgeon's knife is faith which means openness to God.

Saturday 25 March 2023

The Root of Reality

What is the foundational spiritual quality? I would say it must be freedom. Others might point to love but freedom must exist first for love to be. Esotericists speak of a state beyond being. This is the primordial state of freedom.

If freedom is fundamental to spirit then that which opposes freedom is anti-spiritual. We live at a time when freedom is being increasingly curtailed though this is not always as obvious as it might be. A more evolved consciousness, such as exists in modern human beings in the sense of their greater self-awareness, requires a subtler level of control. Even so, the events of 2020 should have been obvious to anyone but, amazingly, they weren't to the majority, and even now when more and more evidence is emerging that the response to the problem was way over the top most people still won't accept it. I suppose no one likes to think they have been had.

Then there is the matter of the weather. Its changeability is being used as an excuse to bring in ever greater controls. Cost of living increases, with many foodstuffs doubling in price in the UK over the last year, serve the same purpose as does the move to replace cash with digital currency. All these thing point in the same direction. Loss of freedom.

But there is more. Almost everyone nowadays uses computers in some form throughout the greater part of their waking existence. Computers are based on a technology in which measurement, control and quantification are fundamental. Control and regulation. Despite claims to the contrary there is no real freedom in a computer and this is affecting our consciousness and the way we think. I have often written that technology is not neutral. It frames the way we view life. Our minds adapt to the technology we use. The use of computers makes us think and even perceive more like computers. This is leading to a loss of spiritual freedom and that is over and above the fact that our dependence on computers reduces our own inner powers of perception which are being replaced by external substitutes that give us more breadth but less depth. Just like the 2020 events you will either see this or you won't and if you won't might it be that you don't want to?

The greatest achievement of the rapidly dying Western civilisation was the development of human freedom. Undoubtedly, this had its negative side especially when it tipped over into self-indulgence, decadence, chaos and all the rest that we know so well. Even freedom, the greatest good, must be balanced and directed into proper channels which truth is expressed so well in the saying from the Book of Common Prayer that 'in his service is perfect freedom'. The highest freedom is to be found in Christ because that is the flowering of spiritual freedom but even this springs from the seeds of individual freedom. Without that there could be no spiritual freedom.

This, then, is what we should be watching out for. The reduction of freedom in every area of life. But remember that freedom has a purpose and that is to enable us to know God. If freedom is not directed to that end it will turn bad so our task now is, first, to resist the loss of freedom and, second, to use our freedom wisely which means to aim it towards God. For only in God is true and lasting freedom to be found.

Saturday 18 March 2023

The Guru Figure

Bruce Charlton recently sent me a link to a Youtube video about Seraphim Rose and Alan Watts. 

For those who don't know Seraphim Rose was an American Russian Orthodox priest and definitely someone who was called to holiness. Alan Watts was a populariser of Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism, in the 1950s at a time when the appeal of Eastern religion was strong among a certain spiritually deracinated intellectual class. I first came across one of his books around 1980 but had an instinctive dislike of the showmanship element I felt I saw in him so only read a few pages before putting the book away. It was well-written and even insightful up to a point but it was also obvious that here was someone who had the words off pat but didn't live the teachings at all, except superficially, and reading that actually does more spiritual harm than good. The video more or less confirms that this was, or became, Seraphim Rose's opinion too. He was attracted to Watts at first but soon saw through him. Bruce Charlton pointed out that Watts seems manipulative and selfish with a cold heart and that you can see this if you watch the video with the sound off. He appears to be trying to intoxicate, entrance, impress and cast a spell on his audience. 

I quote this insight of Bruce's here because this is just what so many guru figures of recent decades have done and no doubt still do, though I am not familiar with what goes in that world nowadays. The potent glamour of being seen as the spiritually enlightened master is very strong, and charismatic figures are drawn to it as a way to feed their egos and dominate lesser mortals who give them energy through their adoration. I once asked my teachers about this because it was something that troubled me in my younger days. They told me that these people were not all evil and some did good at their level. However, that implies that some are evil which does indeed seem to be the case. Such teachers use spirituality to advance themselves and they don't care about their disciples other than as satellites revolving around their sun. The following remarks about Watts from the video can be applied to others of his ilk, and that would be a significant number of prominent gurus and spiritual teachers of the last 100 years.

  • His version of mysticism promised him spiritual benefits while allowing him to do whatever he wanted.
  • He streamlined Zen to cater to the modern mentality of self-worship.
  • He destroyed souls including his own.

This is the kind of thing that happens when you take God and the idea of sin out of the equation. Then you use spirituality as a consumer product which means as something to boost the self. I once believed these people were just in error but now I see many of them are badly motivated, predators on the spiritually naive.

In my estimation the change in human consciousness over the last 200 years, with greater individualism and freedom, means that the age of the guru is past. Of course, there is still a place for spiritual teachers of various sorts but not for the guru as the supreme dispenser of wisdom and enlightenment who must be looked up to almost as though he were God or, at least, a god. That was never a Western concept anyway but the guru became a very romantic figure in the West in the 20th century and many unscrupulous spiritual salesmen jumped on board that train. Alan Watts was by no means the worst but he was a definite type.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

God, Image and Reality

Many people think they believe in God but often it is not the true God in whom they believe but a personalised image of him. That's because they see God in their terms rather than his. When you acknowledge God you must have some idea what he is and what his laws are and you must keep, or at least try to keep, these laws as God and his laws are one. You must fit yourself to him not try to fit him to you but this is just what many religious people at the present time try to do.

How can you have any idea what God is? Obviously, the first port of call would be religion and revelation but nowadays the unfolding nature of human spiritual development means we have to supplement that with our own intuition. Intuition is the knowing faculty in man and it is never wrong. It cannot be wrong because it is a direct link to reality. However, in the case of humans as we are at this stage of our spiritual development the intuition is often mixed in with the thinking and feeling faculties and so errors can be made.

A case in point is same sex marriage. This is promoted on the grounds of love but love cannot ignore the claims of truth, and the truth is that the complementarity of masculine and feminine is a basic law of creation. Laws of creation are not like human laws. They are sacred and inviolable. To break them is blasphemy, unpleasant as it may be for the human ego to hear that.

Those promoting a same sex agenda mistake human happiness for spiritual fulfilment. If they are religious their religion is a worldly religion for it seeks happiness and validation in this world. They fail to understand that seeking self-gratification and self-expression is not the work of love because love, spiritually understood, has to do with the forgetting of self not its satisfaction. This is a difficult truth and no one is worthier of respect than a person born with homosexual tendencies who does not deny this in him or herself but does not excuse or justify it either. In God's eyes there is no difference between a homosexual or a heterosexual person. He loves both. But that does not mean that the physical expression of homosexuality is in line with divine truth. It is a mischanneling of the creative energy for egotistic purposes. I repeat, homosexuality in itself is not a sin any more than any tendency is. It is the succumbing to a tendency that is the sin and, more, the denial of its sinfulness.

An image of God is one based on human thoughts, desires, emotions and fears. It can easily become an idol. Christians can have idols just as much as pagans for what many do is adjust the reality of God and Christ to fit their prejudices. One of the most important tasks of the spiritual aspirant is to learn to discriminate between true intuition and what we might call wishful thinking. Only when you start to do this can you make any progress towards the goal of knowing God, and you cannot become one with God until you start to know him as he is. Otherwise what are you becoming one with?

Thursday 9 March 2023

If God Were not a Person then Man Would be Greater than God

 Among those who believe in a spiritual reality there are those who maintain that God is personal, the great I AM of existence, and those who hold that this is a restricted view and that behind the personal God there must be an impersonal Universal Principle transcending all form and limitation, and that this is the real truth underlying the appearance of life in a phenomenal world. You might almost call these two views the Christian and the Buddhist though there is some overlap. Intellectually, you can see the attraction of the latter view. It has a kind of natural logic to it in that it might make sense that behind every thing there must be some one thing and then no thing.

And yet if no thing lies at the heart of reality and the personal is just a veil obscuring that then where does it come from? Also, what meaning would love or beauty or goodness have? Ultimately, these things would be no more than pointers to truth, to be discarded when truth was reached. To think like this is a kind of nihilism even if it's a positive kind as the no thing is not an empty void but a ground of unmanifest potential. But then even potential is something and must derive from somewhere. The fact is that if God is not a Person then he is less than a human being because, when all is said and done, it is the personal that gives meaning to existence. It turns out that the personal is in reality much more profound than the impersonal which latter is the real state of limitation. The unconditioned is like space without stars.

Thursday 2 March 2023

The Gnostic World View

 Gnosticism has a bad reputation among ordinary Christians but I believe there are elements of it that can complement conventional religious understanding. I would reject the idea of a Demiurge on a lower level of spiritual reality to the transcendent God who is responsible for the creation of the world with its inbuilt flaws. A basic truth is that God saw Creation and said that it was good. Matter is not evil but it is matter and therefore a more constricted state of being than spirit. The absolute duality of good and evil, spirit and matter, that exists in some versions of Gnosticism, most notably the Manichaean, is also based on a misconception. The world has fallen into darkness but darkness or evil has no separate reality independent of God.

Where I think some Gnostic ideas are useful is regarding the nature of the soul. For the conventional Christian souls are made (as far as I understand the matter) at conception but I think this is nonsense. Souls exist on the spiritual level, in realms of light, and come down to earth to experience life in a body and a sphere of being in which they become separated from God. This is so that they may grow, become independent and, ultimately, if all goes well, return as fully functioning members of the Kingdom of Heaven. John 3:13 says "No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven." Now, I know the verse goes on to say "even the Son of man which is in heaven" and I imagine this is normally understood as a reference to Jesus, but what if it can also refer to men as spiritual beings who incarnate in this world to further their evolution? The seed falls from the tree into the ground from whence it grows up and returns to the sunlight.

The Gnostic idea of man being a divine spark trapped in matter from which it must extricate itself has merit. Where I would differ from Gnosticism is in saying that this is intended. There is purpose behind it. It is not simply that the soul has fallen into darkness and ignorance but that it has come to this state in order to learn and to grow. On its own level it is perfect but passive. Bathed in bliss perhaps, but with no chance to deepen its understanding or develop its creative powers. In order to do this it must come to a world where it is thrown back on itself. This is the world of separation which is the material world.

But things are not quite that simple because this world is not only material, that is to say, outside pure spirit, it has also fallen and so is worse than it might have been. This is where the Gnostic misunderstanding comes in. Yes, the world has been damaged. No, it is not on that account evil. Evil is nothing in itself. It can only inflict harm on good. Good is the reality and evil is just the shadow of reality in a dualistic world of light and darkness. Darkness is not a thing. It is just the absence of light.

So, the soul comes down to earth in order to return to the heavenly realm but as a conscious choice rather than automatically. This act of choosing qualifies the soul to go to a higher level than that from which it emanated but it also means there is an element of risk involved. This is required because the soul needs to form itself by consciously allying itself with God and Creation. God makes the raw material but the soul then has to build itself up from that raw material if it is to be, which is the intention, a real individual hence a potential god itself. 

Gnosticism means knowledge. The soul is required to have spiritual knowledge. That much should be obvious. But which is more important, knowledge or faith? On a spiritual level they are the same thing. It is only in worldly terms that they become separated and sometimes even in conflict. But that just means that they are both very imperfect in this world. The aim is to unite them and realise they are two sides of the same coin.