Tuesday, 27 September 2016

An Ancient Prophecy of England

I have put another post on Albion Awakening. This one is about a prophecy made by Edward the Confessor on his deathbed which concerns the future of England.

http://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/an-ancient-prophecy-of-england.html

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Where is God?

I recently noticed that, quite by chance, my last three posts had commenced with a Why, a What and a Who which made me think I should begin the next with a Where. Actually it leads to a good question and one everyone must have asked themselves, believers and non-believers alike, at some point. If God exists then why is he not plainly visible or, at least, why is his presence not manifest in some way?  Where is he? I have approached this question before here but it does no harm to look at something so fundamental more than once.

There are in fact several answers to this depending on where you are coming from. To begin with you can just reject the question and say that God's presence is clear if you look properly. It is clear internally from the fact of your being, your consciousness and your individuality. All these things speak a divine reality; none of them can be explained by a strictly materialistic understanding of the world. They all involve something more than what can be measured or perceived by the senses, and individuality, the sense of 'I', actually requires a prototype, a divine I AM. The Buddhist idea that it is just an assemblage from component parts, that the whole is less than the sum of its parts, is frankly incoherent, making materialistic assumptions about a metaphysical reality. You can apply their line of reasoning to the separate ego but not to individuality per se.

But if that is not enough then the reality of God is clear from the outer world too. First of all, that there is one at all. That there is something rather than nothing. And secondly it is clear from the order in the world, the fact that it is not just chaos (in which case we could not know it at all, of course) but has laws, regular patterns and what you might call a flexible design. By this I mean there is a mixture of design and freedom and it's hard to tell where one leaves off and the other starts. This is precisely what one would expect from a Creator who does not just make things in a rigid, sterile and mechanical way but builds freedom into his creation so that it might, as it were, co-create itself from within. This makes it much more interesting to God but it also confuses us for we expect one thing or another not a dynamic mix of the two. Freedom and necessity. But, as I say, that is just what one would expect from a truly creative spirit who wants what he creates to participate in its own creation.

The reality of God is also made known by the beauty in the world and the fact of its fundamental goodness. To be sure, it is not perfect but the badness in it, as in us, comes from good things gone wrong. It is not a principle in itself any more than destruction can take place without creation preceding it. If beauty and goodness do not speak of a Creator to you then it's hard to know what could, but the difficulty may be that we simply take them for granted and thus fail to see the evidence they provide of God's existence. We are too used to them! That they are not all there is in the world is irrelevant. It just means that the world is not perfect but then why should it be? Perhaps that is not its raison d'etre and it does not exist for its own end but for the fulfilment of a greater purpose.

Obviously nothing I have said here will convince anyone but the already convinced. But that is the point really. God's presence is there if you wish to see it but not if you don't. There is just enough evidence for him if you are willing to make a (relatively small) leap of faith but not enough if you are not. Why should faith be important? I think it must be because faith is the sign of acceptance that there is something more than just you as a separate mind and body and the world out there as it is in appearance. It is an opening up of oneself to the greater truth of spirit, and if you are to know spirit in a conscious and participatory way then obviously you must be willing to know it. You must go towards it, and that is faith.

So that is one way of approaching this question. It's not a serious question because God's presence is not hidden if you are looking properly. But I admit this is a bit unfair. Most of us are not looking properly because we don't know how to do that. And even then you could justifiably say that God's presence might be indicated or implied but it is not so obvious that there can be no dispute about it. The Creator is not right before our eyes in the way that the creation is. Why is this? Why would he hide in this way or, at least, not reveal himself? But there are answers to this too.

The first thing to say is that perhaps God is not hiding from us. It is we who have separated ourselves from him. Our original connection to God was lost at the event (or through the process) known as the Fall as described in the book of Genesis. It was lost by our turning away from God and towards our own selves. So we abandoned God for ego. You cannot have both since the former is oneness and the latter is separation. God was known to us as long as we were true to the fundamental laws of being but when we turned from those in search of our own fulfilment then we cut ourselves off from him. This resulted, so the story goes, in death and suffering which may not have been a necessary part, or so necessary a part, of our spiritual development otherwise. This is not a punishment but an inevitable consequence of our listening to the voice of ego and the separate self.

But then there is this. God wants us to be free and full individuals for only as such can we share in his life and his creativity. And only individuals can love. Separation leads to the development of self which could not happen if we were constantly surrounded by God's presence. We would be unable to grow as individuals and develop our own unique quality if we did not have the freedom so to do, and we would not have this freedom if God's presence were always before us. There would be no real choice, no room to exercise free will properly. Thus God withdraws to give us the freedom to grow and, hopefully, eventually start to look for him ourselves. But in so doing we have to stretch ourselves upwards as seeds in the ground do towards the sun, and by doing that we grow spiritually because we rise to meet God on his own level rather than, as before in the days when we had not fully separated out from life, meeting him where we already were.

So you can say that we have to leave home in order to return to it and recognise it in a new and higher way. Before we can truly see that subject and object are one we have to experience them as separate. But does this mean the Fall was intended? I think not. I think that our spiritual evolution would have involved a lot less suffering if the Fall had not occurred in the way it did. There might still have been a kind of separation but not as complete as the one that took place. The pain of evil might not have bitten so hard. Suffering and death might not have come in the way they did. But God is able to bring good out of ill so he uses the spiritual disaster of the Fall to effect a deeper redemption but one that now requires the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ to bring about.

I hope it can now be seen why it is that the fact of God is not obvious to us. This is a fallen world and we have fallen with it. But it is also a place of learning not a garden of paradise, and if we are to be full and free individuals then we must become so on our own. Just as children must separate themselves in consciousness from their parents to grow up properly so we must know separation from our divine parent if we are ever to approach him on his own level and in his own likeness. For early man may have been one with nature but he was not one with the Creator in a fully conscious sense. The path of spiritual evolution exists to enable him to accomplish this and eventually build a full relationship with his Creator based on love.



Monday, 19 September 2016

The Light in Britain

Here is another post on the Albion Awakening blog concerning a prophecy about the future spiritual significance of Britain.

http://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/the-light-in-britain.html

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Who is This Blog For?

I have often thought that the writings on this blog might be seen as too influenced by so called New Age ideas for most Christians, and too Christian for many people interested in New Age forms of spirituality. (Incidentally, is the idea of the New Age now old fashioned?). In the same way, they could be regarded as too influenced by Eastern spirituality by regular Christians and too focused on Christ by those of a Hindu or Buddhist persuasion. So who am I writing for?

What I hope is that there are enough people like me who might have searched in various places for spiritual understanding, as those of the last few generations have had the opportunity to do, and then come back to Christianity, though in a somewhat unorthodox form, viewing it differently than if they had never left it. The Christianity of my childhood was largely an external thing. God was presented as out there, and the idea that he was within never really got a serious look in. It was beneath the surface if you looked but it was never brought out and explored in any depth. Nor were there any religious instructors, or so it seemed, capable of doing this. Investigation of Eastern mysticism and various forms of alternative spirituality, including Western esotericism, helped give people an insight into the sense of immanence; the reality that God is not just the transcendent and seemingly remote Creator but also exists within us as our very self, and, through proper spiritual practice, we can access something of this reality. Many people have made that journey over the past fifty years or so. Through meditation and other ways a substantial number of people from all faiths and none have explored the idea that within the human being there is a deep connection to divine truth and, by going beyond conventional identification with the mind/self, we can enter into a living communion with the one life that pervades all manifested being.

But the idea of God Immanent needs to be balanced by the understanding that God is also the Creator who exists independently of (though not separately from) us. So we can be one with God but we are never hierarchically equivalent to him. He remains transcendent, or as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, 'Having pervaded this whole universe with a fragment of myself, I remain'. Without a full sense of this our spiritual search can easily descend into a subtle form of narcissism and, even if it avoids that pitfall, it remains incomplete as, I believe, the understanding of Buddhists and others who do not acknowledge God, and deny the possibility of a relationship with him, does. For God presents himself to us in two ways and to know him properly and correspond to him correctly we must understand and fully honour them both. In one sense he is impersonal or, if you prefer, transpersonal, being, but in another he is personal (if he weren't I'd like to know how we could be), and his purpose is that we come to know him in his personal form, having a relationship of love, and do not just rest satisfied with the frankly static existence that is pure being when it is separated from becoming. We grow and grow, everlastingly so, and he does too, through us. This is the true goal of existence. Not to abandon becoming for being but to combine the two in full and joyful awareness. And only in this way can we really become truly spiritual both in our understanding and in our person, our character.

But there is more and this has to do with Christ. For Christ is not just a righteous teacher or enlightened soul in the Hindu or Buddhist sense. He is the Son of God come to this Earth to offer salvation to those who would accept it. That is traditional Christian teaching but what does it mean exactly? First of all, the Son of God? Sometimes this is revised nowadays and interpreted to mean that he is a human being who has realised his oneness with God. We are all sons of God in this sense. He just knows it. I think that's true but it by no means covers everything that Christ is. In a way I don't fully comprehend but intuitively see as true Christ is the archetype of this, the divine pattern which we can copy but only because he is there to enable us to do that. An exemplar and a template. So our sonship, which does exist, is only able to be activated through and because of his. He is what you might call the Universal Son of God, the Cosmic Christ, the only begotten Son in whose spiritual life we can partake and so become like him. But without him our sonship could never take full effect. He is the central fire through contact with which we, when we have made ourselves combustible by conforming ourselves to truth, can catch flame ourselves.

At one time I might have not properly appreciated this and gone along with the common modern belief that Christ was a forerunner and simply someone who had realised his divine nature ahead (well ahead!) of the majority. But this belief, while perhaps reasonable to the modern way of looking at things, no longer seems tenable to me. It may be that those who distinguish between the man Jesus and the spiritual being Christ, who overshadowed Jesus, are correct, and in that case this spiritual being would be the divine prototype or Logos in that he embodies the spiritual principle that is the Son of God. And Jesus the man would perhaps be the first of the human race to attain Christ consciousness. But that only pushes the sense of Christ as the only begotten Son of God back a bit. It does not alter the reality that Christ is the Son of God who must be born in us before we too can become proper sons (and daughters, of course) of God.

Where does that leave those sincere spiritual people who, whether because of birth or cultural tradition or for whatever reason, do not accept this premise? I must stress sincere because I think that those who actively reject Christ are leaving themselves open to the other fellow. But naturally there are other valid spiritual paths. God provides access to himself by various means. Ultimately, though, these must coincide with the inner truth of Christ (I do not say the outer form of Christianity) to be successful, and I have no doubt that the most open channel to spiritual truth, the one that best and most clearly reveals divine reality, is through the person of Christ. You might call him the fact of which others are the image or the symbol. They can be very true and accurate images or symbols but he is the fact.

Which brings us to salvation. What is that?  To understand this we have to come to terms with the idea of the Fall. That is, human beings in the distant past lost their connection to God, probably unconscious or automatic at the time, and began to follow the path of their own selves. This cut them off from the rest of life and locked them in their own minds which may have had certain benefits but also brought about the disastrous alienation we know today. Salvation is the return to God and this, it seems, was only made possible in the fullest extent by the incarnation of Jesus. To save us from the downward spiral into materialism and spiritual darkness, to save us from ourselves in fact, we have to recognise the reality of Jesus. This means recognise the reality of what he, in the universal sense, is or, better put, recognise him as reality. I don't think a mental acknowledgement of this is sufficient. I think the heart must open to accept Christ within itself and this is the second birth. It is the turning away from self and back towards God and that is salvation. When we have accepted Christ as reality (or a spiritual equivalent which carries something of his inner nature and being) then we are saved but that is a beginning not an end. The acceptance of Christ must be the first step that leads to the transformation into Christ and this, I believe, is what most forms of Christianity have either not emphasised enough or missed out altogether. It is why so many people have found Christianity lacking and looked elsewhere for spiritual sustenance.

So we need first of all to see the truth in Christ and see Christ as the truth. But then we need to become that truth ourselves and this is what the spiritual path is meant to accomplish. Most Christians (real ones, that is) have taken the first step but that really is just the first step and there is a good long journey to go on after that to transform an ordinary human being into a fully conscious son or daughter of God. I would like to think I am writing for people who are making that journey, as I hope I am doing myself, people who understand that Christ came not only to save souls and turn them back to the light but to show them the way to transform their very being into that light.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What is the One Thing Needful?

This world is a difficult place in which to live and it's frequently human beings who make it so. Different people believe different, often totally contradictory, things and many claim they have the right answer but these answers don't agree.  It can be very confusing. What is one to think?

Then there is life itself which poses endless problems. Even if you have a reasonable standard of living and no serious personal or financial difficulties there are numerous irritations and annoyances which can disturb your peace of mind and trouble your heart. How do you deal with them? And if you are at all sensitive to spiritual truth what can you do about its apparent destruction in the world, a destruction getting worse by the day as right and wrong are inverted and goodness submerged in falsehood? I posed this question to myself recently and received the following answer.

Submit everything to God. Keep him in mind at all times of the day. As an undercurrent when you are doing things which require your full attention and right at the forefront of consciousness when you are able to do that. At these times lift your mind up to him and try to feel his presence. This won't be easy at first and you may fear that you are just imagining things but persist and you will eventually find a supporting presence to which you can consign all your troubles and problems. You will realise that what takes place outwardly can never affect you if you are centred in God, and that the truth can never really be damaged, whatever takes place in the world, for nothing good, nothing true can ever be lost. In the real world, which we do not currently inhabit, the sacred is always protected from the profane, and it is always there to be accessed by those who purify themselves of worldliness and fix their minds on God.

This is stunningly simple. At least, in principle it is but it isn't easy to remain focused and undistracted. The flesh may be weak but the mind is often even weaker. And yet it is simple in the sense that all one has to do is keep the idea of God in one's thoughts and in one's heart. I mean by this that we acknowledge the Creator and know that our 'I' only exists as a gift from him. It is a gift so we can do with it whatever we like but the only way to enter into the higher life, the life of spiritual growth and freedom, is to give it back to the Creator in love. Then we can enter into his life. This we do by accepting him and receiving him into our hearts. The modern intellectual type hates this. Such a person wants to be independent. He is too proud, too clever, to be simple and to do something that any uneducated peasant could do. But he lacks wisdom. He lacks love, he lacks humility and he lacks truth. Let us not be like him but let us joyfully acknowledge the Creator.

Now this does not require loud praise and extroverted celebration. Almost always any extravagance of this kind is the sign of an ego seeking emotional excitement, someone who wants God to come down to their level and adjust himself to them instead of them going up to him. But God is not to be found in emotion. He is to be found in feeling, and true feeling, deep feeling, will be quiet and unwilling to draw attention to itself. God is not known in noise and excitement but in stillness and silence. Remember that when Jesus wanted to commune with God more fully he withdrew from the crowds and towns and went into the deserts and mountains, and this remains true today, if not always literally, then certainly symbolically and psychologically.

So when the world oppresses or perplexes you, hand your troubles over to God. Submit them to him by imagining his presence beside you or lifting yourself up to him in thought and imagination. As the Masters said you will then find relief.

This approach might be criticised as 'dualistic'. You are envisaging God as something outside yourself, and the more enlightened mystic is surely past that sort of thing as he knows that his being and God's being are woven from the same cloth. God is within you as your true self. To seek him outwardly is the mark of the spiritually immature.

That may well be so but I challenge anyone who takes this position to maintain it in times of darkness when the spiritual glow is withdrawn from their life, and any experiences they may have had of a non-dualistic nature have dried up.  And believe me, this will happen. The mystic will one day find that his connection to the divine has gone. He will be thrown back on himself. This is inevitable and it is necessary because it takes the mystic away from his attachment to spiritual experiences and forces him to walk the spiritual path for the right reason. He is being purified of egotism and selfish desire by being made to be, and to accept being, nothing. He is being taught that God may be within as your life force but he is also the Creator with whom you can have a relationship of love and, in fact, it is only by means of such a relationship that he can truly forget himself and go beyond his identification with the ego. For the ego is not an illusion to be seen through by knowledge. It is a real fact of human nature that can only be transcended through self-forgetfulness in love. And this is only possible when you open yourself up to God, knowing that you are as nothing and that all you are comes from the Creator.

So the true mystic does not seek spiritual experiences. He will surely welcome them if they come but he is learning to love God for himself not his gifts. Only in this way can his soul be transformed into a suitable vessel for the living God. That may mean that he will find rather more suffering than joy on the spiritual path but this is to cleanse him of sin, the greatest of which is the identification with self. When this suffering comes the only way through it is to hand yourself over to God, and that means, in effect, to submit yourself to his will. Know that whatever he sends you is what you need and accept whatever comes in that spirit.

Which takes me back to how to deal with this world when it assails you. The answer is simply keep the fact of God in mind. Don't let anything distract you from that. It's all in the first commandment really.

 

Sunday, 4 September 2016