Thursday 25 May 2023

The Spiritual Battle

 One of the advantages of being alive now is that we have easy access to all the religious traditions of the past. This can expand our spiritual horizons though I admit it can also lead to confusion and more breadth but less depth as we turn from one thing to another without ever fully engaging with anything. That is certainly a real possibility but then I believe all traditions are now running dry, and that the spiritual light is disappearing from every one of them, whether it be Buddhism, Islam or even formal Christianity*. That is not to say there is no point attending to the teachings of these traditions and no spiritual benefit to be had from fully committing to them but it is not what it was. I know many people will disagree but how much of that disagreement comes from real understanding and how much from hope, wishful thinking or attachment? We should all do what we feel we are called to do but we should make sure that we really are being called to do that, and that the calling comes from the soul and not some level of our personality. The present time is one in which we largely have to tread an inner path which will necessarily have a strong individual element though see below for how individual should be qualified in this respect.

One of the things a Western Christian might learn from another tradition is the Hindu idea of the Kali Yuga. There is an equivalence in Christianity with the concept of the End Times and also Greek thought has the various ages of Man known best from the writings of Hesiod in which we descend from Gold to Silver to Bronze to Heroic and then now which is the Iron Age. This is a descent because standards of behaviour deteriorate and so does the capacity for human happiness. So, the West does have this idea to counter the more modern concept of progress but it is developed more fully in Indian thought. I presume most readers are familiar with the Kali Yuga so I won't go into details but I would like to draw attention to its inevitability. It is, in fact, an example of the universal principle (in the material world) of entropy. Without an infusion of spiritual energy things will get worse. There have been many infusions of spiritual energy, chief of which, obviously, being the Incarnation, but the well is now running very dry which explains the spiritually catastrophic (not too strong a word) state we are in.

If something is inevitable what should our reaction be? Ignore it and go along with the ride? Certainly not. That is to participate in it, contribute to it. Fight it with all we have? Maybe, but that is to engage in a war you cannot win and you may well be drawn into what you are fighting by combatting it on its own level. Withdraw into the desert or mountains (so to speak)? That is an option that may work for some and I did it myself for 20 years but there is a potential element of self-absorption at play. 

There is no one solution which will work for everyone always but I think the old advice to watch and pray is good. Attempt to live and speak the truth wherever you find yourself and respond to the needs of the moment as they present themselves. The most important thing in the Kali Yuga/End Times is to construct and preserve an inner link to God and then you will know what to do. It won't be the same for everyone. There will always be an individual aspect involved, particularly now when the spiritual path becomes more individual the further you go on it (individual opened to God not enclosed within itself). But remember that if you fight the world you often end up becoming the world. Focus on the inner fight because that is one you really can win.

*Though not Christ himself, of course.


Van Franklin said...

Wise words William.

It is one of the hardest things. Feeling called to fight against whats wrong in the physical realm; Yet knowing we are engaged in a battle against powers above our pay grade. My fathers house truly has many mansions, to run or to ruminate, either way I think we're approaching a time where everyone will have to make a most consequential choice. To be in the world, or of it? I think the clot shot was a sort of practice test for this.

You basically have to give up everything (earths delights) to gain everything (leveling up). Or, you keep everything (earths delights) and end up with nothing (a life of hell on earth).

William Wildblood said...

Excellent comment, thanks Van.

Christopher Yeniver said...

The Greeks do not seem to have an account of apocalypse. They may have marked human nature for faults and left the rest unsaid.

Greeks seemed to be on a skeptic roller-coaster up until they decided upon certainty, or the skepticism was a reaction against something as much as the certainty is to the lack of faith.