Monday, 26 August 2013

The Future

We are living through strange and unsettling times. Perhaps it has always seemed that way, especially to those who are spiritually sensitive, but nowadays it is increasingly clear to many people, spiritually inclined or not, that a cycle is drawing to a close. Our feelings about this may manifest in different ways according to our particular interests and concerns. Thus some would say that the economies of the world, especially the Western world, have reached a breaking point, and that the recent banking crises only represent the tip of a far larger iceberg of financial malpractice and chicanery. Others point to the almost universal corruption and cynicism in politics with ideas of both left and right now equally stale and irrelevant. Still others lament the destruction of social values and traditional standards, often started, it is true, with the best of intentions in the name of freedom but that freedom has brought responsibilities to which we have not always been equal. Then there are the arts which have abandoned their mission of inspiration and, as a result, are in a state of steady decline, in terms of the heights to which they are capable of soaring at any rate. Isolated renewals here and there hardly alter the main picture. Our worries over climate change point in the same general direction and I could go on. In pretty much every area there is a (maybe not universal but) widespread feeling that things are amiss, and that the trend towards degeneration and even, possibly, disintegration is irreversible. In this post I want to examine that feeling.

Last year there was great excitement about the Mayan calendar's apparent prediction of a mass physical and/or spiritual transformation of the planet in December 2012. This reached such a pitch that I would not be surprised if many people interested in New Age or esoteric forms of spirituality (but who were otherwise perfectly sane!) felt that there could be something in it. Obviously there wasn't. Despite some face-saving attempts after the time had passed to claim that we had entered a new cycle, it is apparent that the date was without significance. In a similar way I remember that many people in the alternative communities of the 1970s were talking about earth changes that were imminent, certainly expected before the end of the millennium. They didn't happen either.

Now, I am not saying that a cycle isn't ending or that there might not be earth changes, maybe even dramatic ones. In fact, I believe both of those things to be true. But I have no idea when they will take place, and I guarantee to you that nobody else does either, whatever what may be claimed by certain spiritual teachers or communicated from the next world through channeling. When you have been around for a while you notice that no predictions of this nature ever come true. At the same time, the fact that these predictions are made with such regularity, and that there is widespread receptivity to them, does indicate something.

What it indicates, I believe, is that the future will not be an uninterrupted continuation of the past. Something is ending and some new thing is about to begin, and many people intuitively sense that. They react to this intuition, and sometimes seek a focus for it and an expression of it. Thus the psychic communications and predictions come about as attempts to give concrete form to the intuition. They are not correct in their specifics but they are correct as indicators of a more general truth. They are mentally constructed formulations, built up out of the recipient’s pre-existing patterns of thought, of a truth that exists, at the moment, only on an ideal or abstract plane.

When Jesus spoke of his second coming he said that no one knew when it would be save God alone. No man knew, and not even the angels in heaven. Note, not even the angels in heaven. So if we take his statement seriously (and I believe we should) it means that no channeled prediction of the future can be regarded as reliable. But that is not to say that we cannot view such things as warning signs on the horizon. Like most prophecy they belong more to the world of myth than reality and though myth has its own reality, that lies chiefly on a symbolic level. As usual wisdom lies in the middle course. Don’t take such things literally but do see them as symptomatic of something real, or, at any rate, potentially real.

I have been asked if the Masters who spoke to me ever mentioned the Age of Aquarius or the collapse of the world, as we currently know it. They did not. They were spiritual teachers and so they spoke only of what is directly relevant to spiritual training, and that is the development of sensitivity to the soul. How to acquire that sensitivity and how to detach oneself from possession (the word is not too strong) by the lower self. They did say that the world was in a state of great spiritual ignorance, possibly the greatest ever, which is a sobering thought, but they did not predict the future because their concern was, as ours should be, with the present. They would have regarded any kind of preoccupation with what is to come as a distraction from the true spiritual task of radical rebirth and that is the same today, tomorrow and forever.

Change is certainly coming but then change is always coming. The fundamental fact of this world is impermanence. The spiritual seeker’s aim should be to go beyond impermanence and align him or herself with the unchanging bedrock of existence. It is certainly undeniable that the contemporary world is separating itself more and more from its spiritual source. Most of humanity now accepts no light beyond that from its own mind, and this may well be a sign of impending apocalypse as predicted by various religions. There may be a dramatic collapse of society, there may be earth changes and there may be an Aquarian age just around the corner. On the other hand, there may not or, at least, it may not take the form anyone currently imagines. But if you are a spiritual aspirant concern for the future should not be at the forefront of your mind. Live out of time as much as possible because if you live in time then you live in the mind, and if you live in the mind you live in the material world. Certainly be a wise not a foolish virgin and, if you feel inwardly impelled to take particular actions, by all means do so but know that, from a purely spiritual perspective, a transcendent one in which absolutes apply, the Aquarian Age is part of the world of maya and, in that sense, an illusion.

I do not decry those who seek to bring about positive change in the world. Indeed I commend them, but there are two points to consider.  Firstly, real change must always come from within for if there is not inner transformation then outer change will just be the same thing in a different guise. And secondly, when Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" he was pointing out that even a Golden Age of peace and brotherhood will not be spiritually perfect. Nothing can be on this plane which is a plane of separation and duality. We should certainly try to establish what you might call a spiritually literate society, a society which helps and encourages people in their spiritual growth, but this can never take the place of, or remove the need for, the inner journey which we all have to make individually and alone. The most it can do is offer helpful conditions in which that journey can take place. And even this is a double-edged sword for sometimes the best outer conditions can be the least stimulating for growth. For instance, it is easier to be detached from the world when the world is crumbling. From that perspective a time of spiritual darkness can be a spiritually fecund time in which to be alive as long as you respond to it in the right way.

In conclusion let me say that I believe the future will be very different to the past and we should be ready for that. At the same time, the Aquarian Age is a myth and undue focus on it will only distract you from what truly matters. Please note, I don't say that this myth is untrue but it is not necessarily literally true either. Moreover (and this is the crucial point) even if a Golden Age dawned tomorrow that would not leave you any the more spiritually enlightened. Your task as a spiritual aspirant is to rise above identification with the world of change and becoming so whatever cycle you find yourself in is, in that sense, irrelevant. Cycles only concern the outer expression of things. You must go beyond the movement of the spheres in order to know the unmoving mover.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Separation

I concluded the last post by saying that separation was the root cause of evil and so it is but I would like to qualify that statement a little here because as it stands it is not the whole truth. At least, if it is taken to mean that separation is always an evil then it is mistaken.

There is a saying attributed to the Taoist sage Chuang Tzu that it was separation that led to completion. What this means is that it is only through the experience of separation from oneness that a created being can consciously know oneness. Thus separation is an essential part of the evolutionary process which term I use to mean the process that sees a unit of consciousness descend from a state of pure spiritual oneness into the dualistic world of form, where it is given the opportunity to know itself as an individual, and thence to re-ascend into oneness only this time with the fruits of experience. It goes from the state of unconsciousness (because it is not conscious that it is conscious) to self-consciousness and then, if all goes according to plan, to God consciousness.  And this process of making gods is only possible through separation.

Creation itself is only possible through separation. In order to create, God must become other than God. Because there is nothing apart from God He must separate Himself out from Himself and become two. We can call this spirit and matter, creator and creation, inner and outer, subject and object, life and form, but the point is that there must be a division in unity if unmanifested oneness is to manifest, and that is separation.

Separation is God becoming other than Himself in order to become more than Himself. So separation in that sense is actually good. It has at least the potential to bring about a higher good than would exist without it. It is also the source of love. The fundamental reality behind all else may be non-duality but if original unity had not become duality and then, as the interaction between the two poles of existence brought about the numberless worlds and created beings inhabiting those worlds, multiplicity, there would have been no possibility of love. Indeed, it could be said that love was the very reason for creation. And love, without separation, could never be because in pure, unmanifested oneness love can neither be expressed nor even known.

So it is not separation in itself that is bad but isolation or, in other words, a separate self that no longer acknowledges its oneness with the rest of creation. We were created as sparks of the divine fire. The mystery and glory of our existence is that these sparks can come to know themselves as the fire itself but, in order to gain that knowledge, they must first lose contact with the fire and experience the isolation of complete separation. Only thus can they know themselves as themselves. But if they do not then seek to grow out of themselves, and instead merely seek to grow themselves, then the purpose of separation becomes perverted. It is taken too far and seen as a destination rather than a stop along the way which should mark the point of return to the source. It is then that separation may lead to evil.

Life in this world is marked by separation. No man is an island said John Donne but it certainly feels that way which, of course, is why he had to say it. The common experience of every human being is that they are cut off and isolated from the rest of life. This may be glossed over through love, friendship and in other ways too but it is the fundamental fact of our existence until, through acknowledgment of our common spiritual source and direct intuition of that source, we learn to transcend our separateness and recognise our oneness. We might like to think that is inevitable, and it may be that everyone will eventually reach salvation (for what else is salvation but this?), but, even though life may always be trying to push us in that direction, it is still a matter of choice. We can choose to remain separate or we can choose to pursue the path of oneness. This world is perfectly set up so that either choice is intellectually possible by which I mean that if we apply reason alone to the problem we can equally well choose the path of materialism (which is separation) or belief in a higher power (which is oneness). If we go purely on a rational basis there is just enough evidence to convince the prospective believer in a God but not quite enough to convert the atheist to that position. Thus it is a matter of choice and the choice we make depends on the degree to which we are willing to listen to our heart. It is the heart that is our connection to oneness while the brain is the source of separateness. Atheists may theorise about the oneness of humanity (a lot of them like to do so) but they can never realise that oneness except as an idea or concept until they acknowledge the higher power that unites us, and which does so literally not theoretically. And that is God. So atheism, whatever it may say about itself, is actually the doctrine of separation because, though it may pay lip service to oneness, it denies the unifying principle. There is no oneness except in God. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Question On The Problem Of Evil


This question fits in with the two previous articles even though it was not prompted by them. It was asked from the standpoint of someone who followed the spiritual path but felt that any attention paid to the negative aspects of life only emphasised those aspects, and it was much better to take the line that evil was simply ignorance. So it is, but when consciously pursued, as it is by the dark forces, it is not innocent ignorance, and it is certainly not without intelligence, so you really should be wise to their wiles and modus operandi. I realise that the term 'dark forces' can sound almost comically sinister to some but the reality is that there are what the Masters called erring souls whose purpose it is to mislead. It is much better to know about these things than blithely assume they don't concern you. If you are serious about the spiritual quest, they do. However their existence can actually be used to our advantage because the fact that they will exploit any flaws we may have can serve to make us aware of those flaws and correct them. Only if we remain awake, though.

Q. Your Masters do seem to go on rather a lot about evil. Doesn’t concentrating on it to that extent just make you slightly paranoid? Surely it’s much better not to pay any attention to it and focus on the good?

A. By all means focus on the good. The Masters never told me to worry about evil or to fix my thoughts on it. I agree that would be giving it manure in which to grow, if I can put it like that. But they did warn me to beware of it and its machinations, and we have to recognise that evil does exist in this world, both in the physical world and in certain non-material aspects of the world, the psychic plane as you might call it. There are fallen powers that seek to deceive, distract, corrupt and lead astray, and they do focus much of their attention on prospective disciples and those attempting to free themselves from the illusions of this world because those are the ones most likely to escape their net and potentially help others to do the same. That is why the spiritual field, as it exists in earthly terms, is so riddled with half truths and falsehood. It has been thoroughly penetrated by the dark powers who have cooked up all kinds of false paths, most of which contain enough elements of the truth to make some appeal but always deviate from it in a critical way. Usually in a way designed to attract the prideful, desiring, prejudiced lower self. And that is why it is the responsibility of those somewhat established on the spiritual path to point out the false, though this should always be done with humility, dispassion and without descending to the sort of intolerant antagonism one has seen so often in religious history. You also have to distinguish between a path that is incomplete but legitimate (nothing is complete, after all) and one that contains greater illusion than truth. We truly do have to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves and that is not always an easy balance to strike.

On the subtler level, we have to be aware of evil within ourselves. If there is no evil in us, then there is no evil in the world by which I mean that we perceive evil has no fundamental reality. However as long as there is any propensity to falseness at all in us then evil remains in the world. So when the Masters warned me against evil they were saying that, yes, there are powers that seek to deceive and their ways are subtle but they were also telling me to guard against all negativity in myself. Unto the pure all things are pure.

The question of evil has always been there as a problem that must be confronted by anyone who seeks to find out the truth behind appearance. It cannot be denied and it cannot be ignored. It must be understood and the only way to understand it properly is to see that it is not part of God's reality but arises in a dualistic world as a consequence of free will. But that is just the aspect that relates to our capacity to make wrong choices. There is another aspect to evil, what you might call the cosmic aspect, and that is expressed in various religions as the refusal of certain high spiritual beings to acknowledge the supremacy of God. This led to their expulsion from heaven (figuratively speaking) to lower, though still non-material, levels, and that in turn led to the fall of humanity when we lost our spiritual connection and created a separate self. Our task now is to turn our faces back to the light and re-establish that connection. Our task is to reject separation which is the foundation of evil.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Spiritual Protection

The great beings who carry out God’s will could remove all evil from this world at any time they chose. All external evil, that is. They cannot remove the evil, or potential for evil, from our hearts without breaking God’s own laws. And that is why the dark forces are permitted to remain within the aura of Earth from whence they attempt to induce us away from paths that lead to the light and into one of the many diversions that distract us from what is real. We allow them to remain by responding to their wiles, succumbing to their misdirections and falling for their temptations. What defines a human being is free will, which is what gives a created being the opportunity to become a god, and if evil were removed without that being the result of our own free choice that opportunity would potentially be lost. The dark forces can only mislead us by manipulating our own pre-existing shortcomings and negative or selfish impulses. Once we uproot these from our psyche and turn our faces wholly to God they have nothing to work with and are defeated. Thus, to get rid of evil on the outside, we must eradicate it from within ourselves.

This is what the Masters made clear to me. I was also told that during the period of my training (and probably throughout life) evil entities would seek to influence my thoughts ..... but they could be banished by love. He (the Master) told me not to have fear of evil or dwell on it but to be aware that it exists. “It has no power over you unless you give it power” he said.

When the Master said that evil entities could be banished by love he was not suggesting that I should try to love them. That would be na├»ve in the extreme as such beings are quite without moral scruple and would respond to proffered love in only one way. By seeking to take advantage of it. This is why Christ advised his disciples to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves, and not just the latter of the two. They must go together. What the Master was saying was that I should cultivate an attitude of love so that when dark thoughts arose in my mind (possibly projected there by the evil entities) I would not succumb to them but easily be able to dismiss them. I would just not respond to them, seeing them as belonging to the world of falseness. The light of love makes the mind impervious to shadow or, as another holy being once told me, love disperses all darkness.

This gives us the key to the greatest protection against evil. It is love. That is hardly a revelation, of course, but it is worth looking at for a moment for not only is love the mark of a spiritual person, it is also, from a purely practical point of view, a shield against which evil can do nothing. We could explain that in a vaguely scientific way by saying it is a form of energy of a far higher frequency than anything at the devil’s disposal so he simply cannot penetrate it but I prefer to look at it like this. Darkness can only deepen darkness that is already present. Where there is light, it just vanishes into nothing.

The Masters can defend us from some attacks (they told me so themselves) but they cannot or more probably will not, defend us from all for if they did how could we learn to rise above such things and become Masters ourselves? What they can do is help us if we help ourselves and, to that end, they gave me certain methods to protect against evil. One of these was prayer. If we ask for protection it will be given. You might reasonably wonder why it is not given anyway but the point is that the initiative must come from us. Human beings are normally closed. We must open ourselves to receive it. We must abandon the ego and submit (prayer is a form of submission which is why a certain type of person dislikes it) in order to be able to accept freely offered help from above. Prayer, true prayer, lifts us above ourselves and so away from the only area in which the dark forces can operate. Therefore the very act of praying if it is done with humility and sincerity will protect us in itself.

Another technique that was suggested to me was to imagine an armour of light around me that would protect me from the evil influences when they attacked.  To the convinced materialist this might seem the purest fantasy but, in spiritual terms, everything is mind. There is nothing in the external world that does not first arise in thought. When we talk about the dark forces we are not talking about physical beings but beings that exist in a mental world, a world where thoughts are things. Here concepts such as light and dark are not just symbolic terms. They are actualities and so, as with love which can be equated to light, the visualisation of an armour of light will form a barrier to lower forms of energy. As stated above, where there is light there cannot be darkness. Naturally any visualisation must be sufficiently concentrated to be effective but if you focus your thought, using imagination and willpower, and try to establish a firm connection to the spiritual world through both head and heart you will be rewarded. Persistence is the key to success.

I realise it could be thought that even discussing these fallen beings is to give them an importance that might augment their power over us. Actually they don’t have any power over us at all (see the Master’s words above) but they are able to exploit our weaknesses. Therefore it makes sense to be aware of them and know how they operate. You may not believe in evil powers or demons or whatever you want to call them. You may not think you need protection. You may think that nothing comes into your mind that does not originate there. However I can assure you that if you are on the spiritual path in any serious sense what the Masters told me also applies to you, and it is foolhardy to ignore it. The greater progress you make, the more you will be assailed by evil in all its forms. That is a solid fact and one you need to know. You need to know it not to have fear of evil or dwell on it but to be aware that it exists. A common analogy is with bacteria. These will infect you if you are exposed to them whether you believe in them or not. In the past we were ignorant of this and suffered for our ignorance as we took no steps to protect ourselves. Now we understand the practical necessity for cleanliness and so we observe basic rules of hygiene almost as a matter of course. We don’t go through life terrified of germs but we have acquired the habit of making sure our environment is as pure as it can be because we know the consequences that could arise if we neglect this. So it is with spiritual protection.

I will conclude this post with another piece of advice from the Masters with an interesting suggestion about the power of certain colours. It also points out how disharmony in relationships can be stimulated by evil influences and tells us how we should tackle this. Not everything we think or feel is our own, and it is very important not to follow or pay heed to negative impulses if and when they arise. The devil (I am speaking figuratively) loves to sow seeds of dissension. We must make sure these always fall on stony ground.

The Master told me to give love and support to Michael, and to realise that if I felt antipathy or irritation towards him this was the evil influences at work and should be ignored. I should meditate on blue and gold as this would purify the mind and take it to a higher level where such influences could not operate.

The purest spiritual symbol is the sun in a clear blue sky. One pointed meditation on that will take your mind to a sphere far above all darkness and illusion.





Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Spiritual Pollution

Practically from the moment we are born into this world we have to deal with a polluted environment and a constant stream of toxic energies. I am not referring to the physical environment. We all know about that and make, if we are honest, fairly desultory attempts to clean it up since most of us are reluctant to sacrifice too much towards that end. We don’t want environmental pollution but we do want the benefits of which that pollution is an unfortunate side-effect. But I am not talking about that here. Nor, when I speak of matters toxic, am I referring to what we put into our bodies. If you are a spiritual aspirant you know that smoking, alcohol (in excess, not a glass of wine now and then), drugs and meat are not only bad for your health but have a spiritually detrimental effect too. You know, or should do, that they desensitise you and make access to higher levels of awareness harder to achieve. However, as you progress on the path, your desire for these things drops away quite naturally so there should be little difficulty for most serious seekers to avoid them.

But there are some things not so easy to avoid. The psychic atmosphere of our planet is heavily polluted, and we all live in this atmosphere. The emotional body of humanity is still seriously infected with such things as anger, fear, irritation and even hatred, and we, who are part of humanity, have to learn not to respond to these energies or let them influence us. If they are not present within us then they will not affect us (‘unto the pure all things are pure’) and we can help in the much-needed task of purification, but if they do in any way exist within us (and rare is the person who is free of them), then we may find our emotional reactions are provoked and magnified by what is in the air around us unless, that is, we take steps to protect ourselves. The first and most effective way to do this is to be aware of ourselves – change our habits and replace reactions with non-reactions - but there are spiritual techniques (the word is suitable on this occasion) that may help too.

Before discussing these I must mention other forms of pollution that the spiritual aspirant has to learn to recognise and defend himself against for if he chooses not to, either through ignorance, over-confidence or disbelief, then his progress will be slowed down and it may even come to a halt.

First of all, there is the pollution of false ideas. From a spiritual perspective the most obvious of these is the prevailing materialism but there are many that take an ostensibly spiritual form too. There are wrong spiritual ideas and there are perversions of right spiritual ideas. We protect ourselves against this kind of pollution by sharpening our powers of intuition and discernment. We can also defend ourselves by standing aside from all forms of conditioning and by refusing to follow any of the numerous crowds that clamour for our attention. Perhaps most effective of all, we can submit these ideas to the power of Christ or the Buddha to see how they measure up to the yardstick of their perfection. Here’s how you do that. Visualise one of these two saviours. Align yourself with his vibration and see how the idea reacts when set against that vibration. Does it flourish and expand when exposed to it or does it wither and shrink? Does it take on an entirely different complexion as maybe some aspects of it grow while others die away, or is it seen to have no real value at all? How does it respond to their presence? How is it seen in their light?

Then there is the pollution caused by what we can justifiably call spiritually unhygienic forms of culture, music, art and entertainment. This is extremely widespread at the moment and it is hard to escape. Much of it is superficially attractive, to the eye, ear, feelings or mind, but if you subject it to the acid test of spiritual discernment you see it is goes against the laws of harmony, beauty and truth, and its consumption has a deleterious effect on a person’s spiritual health. In my view, this pollution, rarely seen as such, is one of the biggest problems of the day. Unless you live in some form of retreat you will encounter it so you need to see it for what it is to avoid being influenced by it.

So there are various kinds of pollution other than the commonly accepted physical sort. Somewhat simplistically, but for ease of reference, we might call them emotional and intellectual. These are just as pervasive as the physical variety but potentially even more harmful as they are often unacknowledged so we take no steps to guard ourselves against them. We absorb them unthinkingly and allow our children to be exposed to them with the result that young minds, eager to explore the world, are contaminated by influences in many cases designed to lead them away from the spiritual path. I say they are designed because a significant proportion of them do not just arise from human wrong thinking but from fallen spiritual powers, discarnate beings often described as the dark forces.

Don’t stop reading at this point. You have not inadvertently stumbled across the paranoid ravings of a superstitious conspiracy theorist. The Masters who spoke to me confirmed that evil powers do exist and that they attempt to derail the spiritual progress of humanity. In their words, the greater progress you make the more you will be assailed by evil in all its forms. But, while these powers may assail the disciple individually, they also mount an attack on humanity as a whole through the stimulation of negative energies and the spread of falsehood often carefully dressed up to resemble truth. And that is what I mean by spiritual pollution. Of course, it’s not really spiritual in the higher sense but it has its origin outside the physical world which is why I call it that.

The existence of the dark forces is something that has been known and accepted by all religions until very recently when we have decided that to believe in such things is childish. But I wonder, who are the children? Those who acknowledge something real or those who deny it because it does not fit in with their pre-conceived ideas? Certainly one can react to the concept superstitiously or with fear, both of which are mistaken, but, whether one likes it or not, these dark forces do exist. Through pride, through egotism they have set themselves up against God and they desire to separate human beings from their divine source too because that will increase their power. They do this through a variety of means and one of the most potent is to influence our minds. The Masters warned me that I could be vulnerable to attacks from outward evil that would affect my thoughts if I let it, and the same applies to anyone trying to pull away from the mass consciousness and realign themselves with the soul. This is something all disciples should be fully aware of and it is why we need spiritual protection, a subject I will consider in the next post.