Thursday 31 August 2023

Thoughts on the Secular Corruption of Spirituality

I sometimes get challenged about remarks in my books and online in which I condemn leftism as spiritually destructive. I realise there are many spiritual people who would define themselves as of the left, probably the majority in fact, so let me try to explain what I mean though the basis of it all is in the title of this piece. 

First of all, it doesn't imply that the political right is the way to go. Spirituality goes above and beyond all politics and wants nothing to do with any of it in the sense of identifying with any party or the aims and objectives of any party. I would put the spiritual at the apex of a pyramid that transcends both left and right on the baseline, i.e. in the material world. 

That having been said, you have to ask where did leftist ideology as it is today originate, and the answer is that it arose in the 18th century with the specific rejection of God and his replacement with humanitarianism. Now, this may have been a necessary development at the time because it reflected the growth of awareness of the self throughout all sections of society. This awakening of the consciousness soul, as Rudolf Steiner terms it, required a new approach to life and the world and human beings and their relationship with one another. 

But that should have been in a spiritually aware context. What actually happened was that God was removed from the centre and Man, humanity, put there. What should have been a dietary supplement became the main source of nourishment, and the resultant ideology was more and more focussed on this world, seeking to establish what can only be truly known in the spiritual world down here in the material. And it did this by ignoring the reality that this is a fallen world and we are sinners. I know people don't like this idea today but anyone who is honest must know it is true. There is a spiritual corruption within all of us and denying that fact changes nothing. The left tries to redeem fallen man as fallen man instead of getting him to transcend that state for a higher state of being. This transformation absolutely demands we see ourselves for what we are and the left would say we are largely ok as what we are. That is just not true. It's like telling a sick man he is not sick. 

Spiritual people when they are on the left are so because they believe that is the compassionate approach. But what is real compassion? Consolidating someone in their ignorance or giving them the wherewithal to transcend that? Most answers to most questions are given by Jesus, and if you look at his life you will see that in some respects he acted as might a left wing person and in others as might someone on the right. That's because he was neither. He went above and beyond both for both are limited ideological approaches not founded in truth. A good example is when the crowd were going to stone the woman caught in adultery. Jesus stopped the stoning and forgave her (left) but also told her to sin no more (right). So, there is forgiveness but there is also the recognition of sin as sin and the insistence on repentance. 

If you boiled left and right down to their core principles you might get something like equality and freedom and these are mutually exclusive despite the French Revolution slogan. It is actually freedom that is the deep reality of the human soul. Equality is not a real thing. It never can be except in unexpressed non-being. As I aspire to be a charitable person I would say spiritual leftists are well-meaning  but interpret spiritual reality in terms of their experience in this world when the opposite attitude is what is required if you would know truth. This does not do away with compassion but expands it by incorporating wisdom. Again, I emphasise that condemning leftism in this way does not mean recommending its opposite/rival. But I do condemn leftism or what, since definitions can be slippery, is usually thought of as that nowadays, because it separates us from God, replacing him with a man-made idol if he is allowed at all. What is the difference in most things between a spiritual leftist and a material one? Hardly anything really which means that the spiritual person is being influenced by the worldly one to see reality in terms of the priorities of this world.

I know none of this will convince anyone not already convinced but perhaps it might give some people insight into a different perspective.

I mentioned the 18th century as the origin of leftism but you could go back further as nothing comes from nothing. Specifically, you could go back to the Reformation which introduced relativism and subjectivism into Western culture. Some of the effects of this were good or even necessary because they allowed for the greater expression of self-consciousness, as already mentioned, but there were also rather severe negative consequences which resulted in an increasingly secularized society with moral, social and even religious values centred in the worldly human being rather than the reality of God. The immanent started to drive out the transcendent. From all this came liberalism which started off seeking to free man from oppressive external authority but soon escalated to other forms until now it seeks to liberate us from both God and Nature.


People might say what is the left of which you speak? Surely it is just the belief that human beings should be treated with fairness and compassion and allowed to express themselves as they wish? Who could possibly not be on board with that aspiration? Perhaps this is how it presents itself but in reality in the modern world the left is purely oppositional. It is against natural law and the natural order. It is anti-white, anti-male (and anti-female or, at least, anti-feminine too if the truth be told), anti-marriage, anti-nature, anti-creation and anti-God, especially anti-God the Father. The compassion of the left is often just an excuse to deny our duty to our Creator and has more in common with an act of rebellion than true love.

It is often said that when the antichrist comes he will be a humanitarian.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Not Going Along with the Aquarian Flow

Over the last several decades since I first became interested in mysticism and the esoteric I have noticed that spiritual seekers who like to think of themselves as in some way advanced and progressive will often define themselves as Aquarians, displaying characteristics associated with that astrological sign. Hence they will be humanitarian, egalitarian, tradition rejecting, happy to involve technology in their spiritual lives, tolerant of sexual abnormalities and so on. This is in line with the idea, now firmly established in even conventional thought, that we are leaving the Age of Pisces, associated with Christianity, and entering the Age of Aquarius in which the spiritual path takes a more universal and inclusive form. Those who can be identified as Piscean in their thinking and spiritual approach will be regarded as outmoded and behind the times. Aquarians are the vanguard of the brave new world.

I do not doubt that there are such things as astrological ages which depend on the movement of the vernal point, where the sun rises in spring in the Northern hemisphere, from one constellation to another. Since each astrological constellation spans roughly 30 degrees of the sky and the whole cycle takes around 26,000 years, the so called Platonic or Great Year which is the name for the period during which all the fixed stars return to the position in the sky they occupied at the beginning of the cycle, the sun will rise in each sign for roughly 2,000 years during which time human consciousness and civilisations will be marked by the characteristics of that particular sign. In traditional astrology each sign occupies an exact one twelfth of the whole with Aries always the first sign in spring. However, because of the slight wobble of the Earth's polar axis caused by gravitational pull on the equatorial bulge, there is the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes which means that over time the astrological signs and the physical constellations do not actually correspond any more. But that doesn't matter from the point of view of geocentric astrology because Aries in this sense is not the constellation in the sky so much as the first 30 degrees after the vernal equinox.

But the physical constellation also exists, though no one really knows where one constellation ends and another begins because the boundaries cannot be clearly identified. This is why we cannot know for sure when Pisces ends and Aquarius begins. It is clear, however, that Aquarian characteristics have been emerging since the 18th century, perhaps with the discovery of the planet Uranus which was soon seen as the new ruler of Aquarius, replacing Saturn. So, we may be in Aquarius now or we may still at the end of Pisces. Whatever it is, Aquarius represents the New Age in many people's minds and so to be Aquarian in consciousness is regarded as a good thing, a progressive thing.

However, here's a thought. Why should new be better? If you regard humanity as inevitably moving onwards into a better world then it might be, but traditional thought, whether Western or Eastern, has never seen the world in those terms. Christians have the End Times, Hindus have the Kali Yuga and, I believe there is a similar understanding in some forms of Buddhism and Native American lore. To think in an Aquarian way just means going with the flow, conforming to the zeitgeist, perhaps even limiting yourself to atmospheric conditions that prevail in the psychic world. Might the spiritual person be required to go beyond this or, at least, not allow himself to be bound by it? Is it not just like someone who slavishly obeys society's mores regardless of right or wrong, truth or higher truth? Should you not sometimes stand apart from those who simply go where the wind blows or the current takes them?

Aquarius as a sign has certain characteristics. These are not in themselves good or bad but can be expressed in good or bad ways. They would also need to be balanced by other signs to operate in a spiritually, or even materially, harmonious manner. Thus, Aquarius is innovative, egalitarian in outlook, sometimes radical, scientific, concerned with individuality and freedom. You could justifiably lay all the weirdities of wokeness at its door and some might take this as proof that these point to the future but others, like me, would simply say that this is a perversion of the Aquarian spirit, the reaction to it on a spiritually ignorant level by immature minds.

Let me come to the point. For good or ill we are entering the age of Aquarius. There is no reason though, certainly none that traditional spiritual thought would accept, that this means we are entering a bright new age of love and spiritual insight. Actually, there is little of real spiritual insight in the typical Aquarian mentality. The love is mostly on a theoretical or ideological plane and the mentality involved (Aquarius is an air sign) largely intellectual. Also, we should recall that the planetary rulers of Aquarius are Saturn and Uranus. These are both, to put it completely unscientifically, quite dodgy planets. Saturn is traditionally a malefic planet which means its influence is not regarded as benign. Nowadays, we would qualify that by saying it works for the overall good but through tough love, creating hardship in order to foster development, but still it is not sugar and butterflies. As for Uranus, he stands for independence, inspiration, originality, reform, unorthodoxy, eccentricity and so on which means he can be exciting but also unstable and disruptive. He is not safe or reliable. Consequently, both of these ruling planets have problems associated with them.

The spiritually conscious person must stand above all the influences of the day. He is not to be swept along by astrological mood swings or fall into conventional ways of thinking, whatever the conventions are. He must be centred in the eternal not the temporal. The fact that the world is entering into the age of Aquarius is irrelevant to him. Obviously, he will be affected by this as he is in the world, and to deliberately go against it is just reacting to it on a different level, but his consciousness should not be conditioned by it for it is a psychological phenomenon not a spiritual one.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Visiting Pondicherry

Pondicherry is a town in South India on the Bay of Bengal that used to be run by the French while the rest of India, other than Goa which was Portuguese, was run by the British. For that reason it has its own special character. It was also for that reason that the spiritual philosopher Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950) fled there when a warrant for his arrest was issued by the British for sedition. It might be better to say that Aurobindo became a spiritual philosopher for he started off as a political activist bent on liberating India from British rule, but after a period spent in jail on charges of planning an assassination attempt on a British official (he was eventually acquitted) he abandoned all political activity and turned to exploring the spiritual life. He wrote an enormous volume of work, none of which have I ever been tempted to read though I have looked at some overviews of his writing. But my impression was that he was more of an intellectual philosopher than a true sage which is not to say he did not have genuine spiritual realisations but he does not appear to be someone of the spiritual calibre of Ramana Maharishi or Krishnamurti.

For the purpose of this article I reminded myself of his ideas by looking at his Wikipedia page (I know, Wikipedia) and that included this summing up of his spiritual position.

"Sri Aurobindo argues that divine Brahman manifests as empirical reality through līlā, or divine play. Instead of positing that the world we experience is an illusion (māyā), Aurobindo argues that world can evolve and become a new world with new species, far above the human species just as human species have evolved after the animal species. As such he argued that the end goal of spiritual practice could not merely be a liberation from the world into Samadhi but would also be that of descent of the Divine into the world in order to transform it into a Divine existence. Thus, this constituted the purpose of Integral Yoga. Regarding the involution of consciousness in matter, he wrote that: "This descent, this sacrifice of the Purusha, the Divine Soul submitting itself to Force and Matter so that it may inform and illuminate them is the seed of redemption of this world of Inconscience and Ignorance."

I have to say that this represents an advance on the basic Indian philosophy of Advaita in which everything is one and creation has no purpose with the spiritual search being purely for enlightenment. Sri Aurobindo introduces an evolutionary element which may have been in the air at the time and has a certain similarity to the Vitalism of Henri Bergson. He was Western educated and his Integral Yoga bears the mark of Western influence, mixed in with traditional Indian mysticism. It didn't really interest me back in the day because I found the ideas better expressed elsewhere but I do see it was an authentic attempt to get to grips with new understandings about consciousness and where it should be headed.

As I wrote in the previous piece, we had several visitors from the Sri Aurobindo ashram stay in our guesthouse. One such was an Austrian called Oscar and it may have been through him that we were asked to deliver the drums of honey to the ashram canteen I mentioned before. I had been interested in visiting Pondy (as it was called) for a while and thought this was a good opportunity. Michael Lord, who was a firm Francophile as he had spent part of his childhood in Normandy, was also keen to see the place. As we were delivering the honey to the ashram they put us up in their accommodation which was the usual clean but basic setup. While there we ate very good vegetarian food in their canteen along with the ashram inmates who were the typical collection of Western seekers. However, we also visited the French quarter which was laid out like a French town and sneaked off to an excellent restaurant run by a Frenchman where we had a break from vegetarianism with some freshly caught fish. 

Garden of l'Hotel de L'Orient, Rue Romain Rolland

But the best thing I had to eat or drink while there was sugar cane juice which I had never sampled before. The street vendor with his cart on the beach would crush several sticks of sugar cane in a contraption that resembled the sort of thing with which old-fashioned laundries used to squeeze the water out of clothes and the resulting liquid was sweet but not sugary and very refreshing.

Stock photo of a drum press

Pondicherry was, and apparently still is, divided into a Black Town and a White Town with the former being typically Indian with Hindu temples and shops and general bustle while the latter was quasi-Mediterranean in atmosphere and appearance and much more sedate with many of the buildings in an attractive 19th century colonial style. The two towns were divided by a canal so there really was a pronounced division between Indian and European which seemingly bothered no one in the way it would today. This reality of two towns in one gave the place an extra character and interest and when I returned nearly 20 years later I was pleased to see it still remained.

A street in the Tamil Quarter

While there I hired a bicycle to visit Auroville which was a township set up by the ashram where people could live in love and harmony with the aim of realising human unity, whatever that is. That may sound cynical and I have to say that Auroville seems to have a better track record than most attempts to create Utopia. As far as I am aware, it lacks the sexual and financial scandals that dog similar endeavours. Nonetheless, like all such experiments its inmates will find they can take the community out of the world but not the world out of the community. There is always an air of well-meaning naivety to such projects, however well-intentioned they may be when they start out. The reality of this being a fallen world with human beings as sinners cannot be circumvented by the attempt to make a perfect environment for there is no such thing in this world and never can be. On the other hand, it is surely good to have a vision and seek to realise it. The sad truth though is that all paradises contain serpents and sometimes serpents are actually attracted to paradises.

When I was cycling back from Auroville I heard a voice shout out "Hello William!" I stopped and looked around but saw no one I recognised. Then I noticed someone waving at me. "Who's that?" I asked myself. He was a fairly heavily built European and a complete stranger as far as I was concerned. But he seemed to know me and he came up laughing. "You don't know me?" No, I had to confess. "I'm Peter" he said. I was very surprised. I did know him but the last time I had seen him was about a year ago when he was staying at my guesthouse. At that time he weighed about 100 lbs. Now he was more like 175. To tell the truth, I hadn't expected to see him again because I assumed he was going to die. 

Peter was a Swiss who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer at around the age of 25. He was told that there was not much the medical establishment could do for him other than ease his path to death. But Peter was made of stern stuff. He had decided he would try to cure himself and he would do so through diet. He had taken himself off to India to the Aurobindo ashram though he was not really interested in the spiritual side of things, but it seemed a good environment for what he was trying to do which was this. He would reduce his food intake to just fruit and just one sort of fruit at a time, whatever was in season. In the couple of months he stayed at our guesthouse in Yercaud he was eating just tomatoes and then just grapes. He drank no water, relying only on what was in the fruit to sustain him. It seems incredible but I witnessed that he did indeed do this. At this point in time I can't remember if it was his own invention or if he was following some nature cure but he did it and he stuck to it. He was quite emaciated when I knew him first but always cheery and positive. I had great respect for what he was doing. He was on his own and had very little money but a great deal of determination.

And here he was a year later, back to full health apparently. He said he had been given the all clear and was cured but was still hanging around in India because he enjoyed the life there. His diet was back to normal as proved by his weight gain, and we tucked into a large lunch together. I never saw him again after this as I went back to Yercaud and he went to goodness knows where but I will always remember him and his impressive accomplishment. Of course, I am not saying this would work for everyone. There may be all sorts of reasons for his cure, his positive can do attitude surely helped though that would not be enough on its own. But cured he was.

On my last day in Pondicherry I got up before sunrise to go down to the beach to watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean. 

Sunrise at Pondicherry

At the time this was the furthest east I had been which seemed to mean something, especially in the context of the rising sun. Using a little imagination one could see oneself present at the birth of the world or even the beginning of creation. After all, if the lesser cycles reflect on their own level the greater ones there was a sense in which you actually were present at such a scenario. This was also a way of bookending an experience of several years earlier when I had watched the sun set over the Pacific at Malibu in California, the end of the world. These great events give you a sense of the mighty movements of creation and how both the world and time itself are guided by forces of immense wisdom and power.

Sunset at Malibu

Tuesday 15 August 2023

If You Do Not Stand Against Evil, You Are Complicit With It

 I have an atheist acquaintance who will believe nothing that has not been confirmed by science, and the sort of fully materialistic science he approves of at that. 'The science'. Talking about the current transsexual craze he said he will wait for science to pronounce until making up his mind on the reality or otherwise of genuinely being able to change sex. A young man of 18 present at this conversation asked "What about basic common sense? We don't need science to corroborate that." "We certainly do", said the atheist. "Nothing can be regarded as true until scientifically proven to be so. What is called common sense cannot be relied upon". "Besides" he added "I just don't care about the gender argument. It doesn't concern me."

This person represents the kind of modern person who has so separated himself from reality, both objective reality and the reality of himself as a human being, that he doubts everything and sees meaning in nothing. This is the result of rejecting the core fact of a Supreme Being who gives reality and meaning to everything. What he is doing to himself is reducing himself to a spiritual wraith, a thin-souled being of less and less substance. He is literally wasting away spiritually. A clairvoyant might see him as surrounded by a hard shell which blocks out any incoming light. It is a sorry state to be in and requires a massive turnaround of consciousness if he is to escape his self- created prison.

Furthermore, not to care about something as important as the fundamental reality of man and woman shows a contempt for the good, the beautiful and the true. It is not sophisticated, as he appears to believe, but siding, whether consciously or not, with the agenda of evil that seeks to separate Man from God. Deny the truths embedded in creation and you deny the Creator who has put himself into creation.

I'm sure many people during the Nazi rise to power were not bothered because they were not personally affected. They turned a blind eye to moral evil. But now the situation is in many respects worse. Vast swathes of the Western population turn a blind eye to spiritual evil and are therefore complicit in its spread, enabling this black miasma to creep over human consciousness. These people are not outwardly evil but by allowing spiritual evil to spread they become part of it and their souls are damaged

At one time I thought that the mystical path was the proper end for every human soul. I still do. The spiritual light must be kindled and burst into flames within the heart. However, we are not just called to ascend to higher consciousness as in some forms of enlightenment or oneness spirituality in which we transcend the vicissitudes of this world which is then regarded as the vale of illusion. We must actively fight spiritual evil as Jesus did and if we are to do that we must recognise it. Spiritual evil is subtle and will often pose as good, worldly good, good for the fallen human being, utopian good, and many spiritual approaches of the present day can be co-opted into spiritual evil because they do not actively stand out against it. Hence the title of this post. Not to recognise good and evil in the world because everything is one or the world is a limited state in which nothing is more true than anything else is not spiritually advanced but moral relativism, and moral relativism just plays into the hands of spiritual evil which will exploit your ignorance mercilessly.

Friday 11 August 2023

More on the Soul

 In the recent essay about the soul and what it is I drew a distinction between the soul and the earthly personality, what are sometimes called the higher and lower self, saying that it is the soul that is our real self and the earthly self is merely its representative in the material world. 

I should emphasise that this is not the same as saying that the soul is a spiritual being which has become trapped in matter, whether for reasons of karma, wrong thinking, some kind of spiritual trauma or whatever, and that the material world is therefore something to escape from. That's the Gnostic view and it is wrong. It has many modern equivalents which are all variations on the theme that somehow the soul is good and the lower self bad. That is not the case. The soul incarnates in matter, which is created by God and therefore good even if it has become corrupted, in order to further its evolution as in unfoldment of its potential. It avails itself of the possibilities of the material world to develop itself. Through separation it becomes more conscious of itself and better able to make positive choices consciously.

Our material self is not evil, illusionary or in any way wrong except when it is seen as an end in itself. It is certainly limiting but that is the whole point of it. Think of it as a constriction which focuses the attention of consciousness on an environment in which God is not obviously present. That gives it the opportunity to develop itself and the greater self from which it derives in a way that would not be possible on more spiritual levels in which conflict and challenge are not present. Through the lower self we become aware of a problem and are given the wherewithal to solve it. Or not as the case may be. For this is also a test. How does the self react to God when he is seemingly not there? This is an examination of the heart. A correctly oriented heart turns to God in some way. One of ill will, and let's remind ourselves that faith is a matter of will not intellect, does not.

The Gnostic view is half right and half wrong. We do have a spiritual self which exists in a higher plane of being but it does not become trapped in matter because of some sin or nefarious activity of evil spirits. It descends to learn, descending meaning accepting a more circumscribed state of existence. Matter is not evil although the material world is not the spiritual which means it is subject to the law of entropy. But it has a function and our appearance in it has a purpose.

While on the subject of Gnosticism I should mention the other main fallacy of that approach to spirituality. The clue is in the name. Salvation for the Gnostics comes through knowledge but no amount of spiritual knowledge will get the earthly human to heaven. Salvation actually comes through grace not knowledge, and grace is bestowed on those who make themselves worthy of it through love. Love means primarily love of God and that comes when the soul truly turns to its Creator, opening up its heart and mind. This, though, is our great problem. Our hearts and mind are closed, and they are so because we are too fixated on the material self.

But the Gnostics were also right. The pre-eminence of love, spiritual love not the earthly variety with which it is often confused by sentimentalists, is no justification for ignorance. Knowledge is also important. In fact, the more one loves God or Truth, the more one wants to understand and to know. We have a heart and mind and there are spiritual correspondences to these two. Both must be satisfied. If spiritual love is missing today so too is spiritual knowledge which is why mainstream religion is so unsatisfactory for many people. Spiritual knowledge is not just facts and figures, intellectual knowledge. It is that but it is more for it derives primarily from the intuition. Esotericists have a vast collection of knowledge about the spiritual worlds, an Alexandrian library's worth, but all this is flat until animated by an individual's own intuition.

Love and wisdom. These are the two attributes of the developed soul. Both must be pursued by the aspiring disciple until he gets to the point where he sees they are actually but two sides of the same coin.