Christmas and other Solstice Celebrations

It’s here… That time of year when to all of the pressures of everyday life are added the pressures of the holiday season. In addition to the demands of Higher Ground, kids, the day gig, (I am an engineer) and everything else that seems to pile up over time, we now have shopping, family pressures, decorations, (inside and out) advertising blitz’s, the “must have” toys of the year and everything else that is attached to a holiday that is shares a season of well wishing with many other holidays. Many of the traditions associated with Christmas are shared by other faiths and religious systems in addition to the fact that their celebrations center on the winter solstice.

If you get down to the true meaning behind the origins of the Christmas Holiday as opposed to  that into which it has grown, I think it’s safe to say that Jesus lost that fight to Corporate America a long time ago. If we want to “put Christ back in Christmas” I can get behind that, but I wonder if we have come too far. The modern Christmas celebration, including the Coca Cola Santa Clause that I grew up with, would be unrecognizable to anyone from the 19th Century, let alone the year zero. That leads pretty easily to what I want to talk with you about.

There are aspects of the real holiday that do survive. You will see the classic Nativity in front of a home or church and just for a moment you remember what we are celebrating. But what are we really celebrating? It is supposed to be the birth of Jesus Christ. A nice Jewish boy born 2000 years or so ago, who had a profound effect on humanity. I say “or so” because no one really knows the date. Many don’t even know he was Jewish. We just assume it was December 25th exactly 2015 years ago (or would it be 2016?). Now, if this was in fact the case, it would not have been called the year zero, it would have been 754AUC (referring back to the start of the Roman Empire). People in the year 45 BC didn’t call it that… how could they know? The calendar was later re-calibrated to center it on the birth of Jesus and the so called start of the “Common Era”. Are you confused yet? Wait, it gets worse. Without getting too lost in all of this, doesn’t it seem strange to re-organize a calendar to a date and year we can’t identify? That gives you an idea of how unique the impact of this one individual.

Now why do we have such a hard time setting this date? Don’t we have his whole life story? Well, yes and no. The two gospel stories that do cover the birth of Jesus conflict with each other, and the earliest of the books in the canonized Bible (Mark) which doesn’t mention the birth, wasn’t written until about 60-70AD (we can’t set that date either). Mathew says he was born while Herod the great was King of Judea (he actually died in 4 BC) and Luke tells us it was in the time that Quirinius was the Governor of Syria. Ironically, history indicates that those two things didn’t happen at the same time. In addition, census that put Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem was most likely the one commissioned by Cesar Augustus in 6 AD, 10 years after Herod died. So we are left to wonder…

Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter what year it was as long as we have the day right. Birthdays don’t mean as much to me anymore and I’m not 2000 years old, I just feel that way sometimes. We can still celebrate and just not have the right number of candles on the cake right? Sorry, we don’t really know the day either. As a matter of fact in the first 337 years of the common calendar 136 different days were used to celebrate Jesus’ birth. That means there is a 1 in 3 chance; no matter what day you are reading this story, that it was Christmas Day at least once. In 337 Pope Julius decided that they had to do something. That mess was OK before, but Rome had basically adopted Christianity in 325 at the council of Nicea. I guess he figured they had to be more organized. So how did he decide? In the absence of reliable historical evidence where would you turn?

As beautiful and complete as the story of Jesus may be, it is not unique in some of its aspects. There are many avatars over the ages and in different civilizations that are celebrated as the “only begotten sons of God”. Edward Carpenter identified 21 common characteristics of these Scriptures and traditions in his “Pagan and Christian Creeds” starting with a virgin mother, (many of whom were named Mary) and including the flight from “a slaughter of the innocents.” Interestingly, many of them were (supposedly) born on December 25th. Are they copying Christmas? Not by a long shot. Christianity is one of the most recent tellings of this ancient story.

Dr. Annie Bessant explains this unlikely coincidence in her book Esoteric Christianity discussing the plurality of these traditions.

“He is always born at the winter solstice, after the shortest day in the year, at the midnight of the 24th of December, when the sign Virgo is rising above the horizon; born as this sign is rising, he is born always of a virgin, and she remains a virgin after she has given birth to her Sun-Child, as the celestial Virgo remains unchanged and unsullied when the Sun comes forth from her in the heavens. Weak, feeble as an infant is He, born when the days are shortest and the nights are longest…”

Alice A. Bailey, in her definitive work on the subject, From Bethlehem to Calvary, states, “At the time of the birth of Jesus, Sirius, the star in the East, was on the meridian line, Orion, called ‘The Three Kings’ by oriental astronomers, was in proximity; therefore the constellation Virgo, the Virgin, was rising in the east, and the line of the ecliptic, of the equator and of the horizon all met in that constellation.”

Hence, we celebrate the birth of the “light of the world” at the birthing of the light at the winter solstice, along with countless other celebrations in varied cultures… Does this sound farfetched? Why would a Pope care about hokey astrological signs when dealing with purely Christian issues? If we dig a bit into history we find some interesting facts. Did you ever wonder why Easter Sunday moves around every year? The date is set each year in accordance with rules set in the same council of Nicea anchored to the Vernal Equinox. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. As a matter of fact it was among the reasons for the reform of the Julian calendar into the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The older Julian was skewed and over time the date of the equinox had drifted 10 days, effecting the Easter celebration. The new calendar bearing the name of Pope Gregory XIII would “reset” Easter to the date established in Nicea in 325 AD and correspond with the solar or tropical calendar, the actual time it takes for the earth to complete its path around the sun. So, as you can see there is precedent for this kind of basis for the timing of a Christian celebration.

So where are we now? We celebrate a definitive event in human history, the date of which cannot be fixed, at the same time that many other celebrations occur, for many of the same reasons. Insecurity alone can be the reason for thinking that the other celebrations are less important or somehow diminish the one that is most important to us. In my father’s One Solitary Life series, this information is given in much greater detail including two dozen virgin born Sons of God.

If we look together at what the teachings of the world have in common we may find even greater reason for our faith. If differing civilizations and cultures all over the world center around the same tenets without the possibility of a common language to have effectively bridged or communicated these aspects of faith, does that diminish the tenets of any? On the contrary, I believe it is compelling evidence of the central truths. Let’s celebrate our faith together and truly honor the teachings and life of the Lord of Compassion along with all of the other celebrations of light around the world.

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Quantum Creativity Part II

quantum_mechanics

So, all of creation consists of some intangible essence bouncing back and forth from a manifested state to an energetic condition we can only call un-manifest. This is called by science the zero point field and in religious teaching Spirit. It is that potential yet un-manifest field of energy packets or quanta from which all manifestation arises. This is the source-less source, the causeless cause, or God, or Life, or whatever your intuition tells you is the best name for an unknowable root cause for all existence… and guess what? It’s not matter or material in any way we use that term.

That is weird. Especially to a scientist. The bigger question for me is, what is controlling when that manifestation happens? How can matter be the fundamental building block of the universe and the ground of all being if it is only there some of the time? This is where the theoretical physicist comes into alignment in a really uncomfortable way with the mystic investigator or occultist; this zero point field represents the void of Genesis prior to creation and is referred to in Sanskrit as mulaprakriti or virgin pre-matter matter. Manifested existence is caused by vibration or as Genesis tells us symbolically, sound. The first act was not the separation of light from darkness but the word or Logos. “Let there be light.”

Let’s talk about this probability pattern or “wave function” we touched on in part one because it becomes central to our discussion. It is the idea that if you have an electron or some other subatomic particle bouncing around on the inside of a box there are areas of that enclosed space that the electron has a higher or lower possibility of being if and when we look for it.

Scientifically we cannot say where it is but only the likelihood of any particular location and so it has to be considered to be potentially in all of them at the same time. It is a wave of possibility or potentiality. According to what is known as the Copenhagen interpretation of wave particle duality the act of observation is what collapses the wave into a particle. This effect of observation is widely, although not universally accepted and is the basis for much of the scientific investigation going on right now.

But what has any of this got to do with spirituality and the pursuit of increasing levels of consciousness? It is the implication that the collapse of wave like energy pattern into solid form is caused by conscious observation. Matter is not the ground of all being but consciousness is!

Now consider what the essence of a human being is in reality. I am not a physical body, I have one. I am not any particular emotional state. I experience these energies through a tuned mechanism. I am not my thoughts; I have a mind. It is a mechanism for response to and the organization of mental energetic matter. I have the ability in my imagination, the imaging faculty of that mind, to combine these contacted energies and assemble them in new ways, to create, but the mind does not do this on its own. I must direct my mind at this task, but who am I? And does it take a human consciousness to cause this collapse or as Einstein once joked, “would a sidelong glance from a mouse suffice?”

Most of us believe in the human soul and see it as the observer within, and I will tell you now that even that is a vehicle for the true essence of you. You are an expression of that causeless cause as it grows in awareness of itself. What Saint Paul said was “above all through all and in you all” but for many of us, identification with that observer is the next step in our development. You are the observer within and because of what we have been exploring, we are being given scientific support for the concept of that observer being an aspect of the creative agent in the universe.

If observation is what collapses a wave of potentiality into a solid measurable particle than the observer is the creator and the ground of all being is not the material result or the energetic precursor, but the consciousness of the onlooker. The question, “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound?” becomes if there is no one there to hear (a conscious observer)… is there a forest at all? The teachings tell us that the forest is conscious so the answer would be yes. The ground of being is not matter but consciousness; and this consciousness expresses itself on many levels including you. You are the creator of the universe in a condition of confused and defocussed ability because you are attempting to function on the physical plane.

God/Life/ the force/ the quantum field… made man in his own image. This does not mean he looks like your body. It means that you are a lower correspondence to, or a reflection of, that creative essence and so on your own plane, a creator. When we look at ourselves in a mirror we are identifiable, as is anything we see reflected off of a surface as pristine as a mirror, but a dimension is lost in the process and the “image” does not retain the depth of the original. If the surface is distorted so will be the image. If the reflector is covered in dust or dirt or if there is a fog between the object and the reflector even more will be lost.

The reflector in this case is the mind, and the level of accuracy in the reflected image is dependent on the clarity of mind. All is energy and energy follows thought. Your consciousness directs your thought patterns and so the teachings have told us that whatever you focus your mind upon most will become your reality. Your thoughts create your world, so why does life seem empty to some of us? And why haven’t we all won the lotto no matter how sure we have been that our numbers were up?

It is because we can’t all win. We can’t all even get the green light. What we can do is surround ourselves with positive creative loving thought forms and work every day toward a harmless and giving attitude with gratitude for every opportunity to learn and grow. This aligns our will and intention with Spiritual Will or what Andrew Cohen refers to as the evolutionary impulse; that driving force behind manifestation. Who do you want on your team?

The problem is that our petty desires are not usually on the agenda of the universal mind. We may have to redirect our energy in order to align with such a high aspect of our universal nature. This is not aligning ourselves with some outside and interfering force but with the highest aspects we are capable of contacting within ourselves.

You and I are reflections of this creative force who have lost consciousness of the whole. As we become clearer of mind and remove the fog and miasma of our emotional turmoil we become more accurate in our recreation of the image of God/ life/ the force in our lives. Since that is our true essence and we are all a part of the original creative principal this means we become better more consciously directed versions of ourselves and better more beneficent creators on the physical plane.

Using that impulse and infusing it with spiritual aspiration rather than physical plane desires we create our world in a different way with a different intent. You are consciousness… your job is to wake up. Begin to look at the life you are creating and see where you may be able to change your approach to get better results. All is Energy and energy follows thought. Think. In order to create something out of the pure potential it has to start with thought. Before God said “let there be light” he thought, wow, it would be really cool if there was light.

It starts with an idea but that is not enough. We have to want it and this desire galvanizes our will to act. This is the creative process that has made your life what it is today. If you want to see change in circumstance you must change what you are thinking. The mind is the reflector which brings spirit into manifestation on the lower planes.

Recognition of this sets up a new creative rhythm in harmony with the underlying causes bringing consciousness to a higher level of self-awareness through manifestation in form. The universe has no choice but to respond to this new rhythm and vibration just as the air has no choice but to resonate with the vibration of my voice or the frequencies of the words I create on the physical plane, or the ideas behind them, or my hope and desire to have you understand them… or a guitar string.

Krishnamurti once said that “the eagle has no intent to cast his shadow and the lake has no mind to receive it.” Each simply plays its part in the perfection of the universe by being true to its own nature. Your nature is that of a creator. Create.

Quantum Creativity – Part I

quantum_mechanics

“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” –  Albert Einstein.

He also said that he came to his understanding of the universe by something other than his rational mind, that this understanding comes in a flash of intuition, and most interestingly for the purposes of our brief discussion today… “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” I agree. We need to take what each of these disciplines, (and they are both disciplines) has to offer. Science is Magic, understood.

We have to acknowledge the idea that whether the philosopher (or lover of wisdom) takes the scientific approach to life or the spiritual approach, in truth a blending of the two will be required. This is what is referred to as the spiritual or esoteric sciences. It is Theosophy in its pure form – Wisdom Religion.  The Ageless Wisdom put forth in all of the Mystery Schools of the ages. This is the wisdom at the core of the religious teachings throughout the world. Esoteric in that it represents the inner teaching beneath the surface that must be rooted out and discovered by each and every spiritual aspirant. It reveals the underlying causes that result in the phenomenal world of experience. In both cases we are dealing with the search for truth. They are the same path.

I am an Esoteric Scientist in that I use my analytical mind to discern or discriminate what is real and important. The meaning of a situation rather than the circumstance. The cause rather than the effect. We use not just our feeling nature in our exploration but also the reasoning faculty of the mind. Faith is important but not a substitute for reason. Why feel your way through the world if you can see by the light of mind? In the words of Esme Wingfield Stratford, “Blind belief is no less sure to err than blind unbelief. The free heroic spirit commands its destinies in the full light of consciousness.” I see Consciousness as both the method of exploration and the field of enquiry.

We are dealing here in some abstract ideas and principles and much must be taken theoretically at first, if the intuition tells us this is a direction worth exploring. Henry Steele Olcott, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society said it this way. “We accept nothing without proof and reject nothing without cause.” Remaining open to going wherever the information leads us as investigators rather than seekers, we take an individual spiritual path which will converge with others, if we are in fact-finding truth.

The work of Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Plank, Faraday, Eisenberg, and many other ground breaking physicists started out as theory and “way out there” theory at that. The woo woo stuff that sounds like spiritual mumbo jumbo to your 8th grade science teacher but is the work of the true cutting edge scientist who is actually an esoteric investigator. We on the other approach wrapped in the spiritual teachings of the ancients have been forging the same road although science seems to have taken the long way around.

This is true and it’s not true at the same time. Some of these theories are now over 100 years old and there is a reason that we don’t see them as that far out any more. Much of the theory has now been born out in experiment and quantum theory has become quantum mechanics. Having decided that matter was the font of being they have had to prove anything they are to build upon materially and 100 years ago their instrumentation was incapable of proving what the mathematics was telling them. Because of this assumption of matter as the root of being, theory has to be turned into a hypothesis and then proven or disproven through experimentation on what we call the physical plane. There is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, and in certain areas of exploration it is essential, but it completely takes you out of certain conversations.

You can’t prove or disprove God on the physical plane so, scientific materialism excludes not only the possibility of either case but refuses to even entertain the question. This was all well and good during the era of Newtonian Physics named for its founder. He is seen as the father of scientific materialism and the scientific method of investigation. His laws of inertia only hold true for large objects but in his time they had no way to look into the properties of atoms and subatomic particles, so in the beginning it didn’t matter.

As the technology moved forward they had to come up with theories or thought experiments to explain the mathematical, and then later, observational results of their increasingly complex experiments, based on the increasing sensitivities of their instrumentation.

Let’s take an example… Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Visible light is a small section of a wide range of frequencies which start well below those of sound up into the Radio frequencies and well beyond visible light into the x-ray and gamma ray bands. These waves vibrate at different frequencies or rates. The difference between Red and Blue light is frequency. The difference between the microwave radiation that heats your coffee in the morning and the sunlight coming in the window is frequency.

It had always been seen as a wave of radiation (a disturbance in what was called the ethers like sound waves are a disturbance in the air). This held up until experimentation revealed what is called “the photoelectric effect.” This is the release of electrons from materials exposed to light. It implied the impact of particles and the “photon” was born as well as the idea of wave particle duality. This is a central concept in Quantum Physics and states that all particles exhibit wave-like tendencies and this is where it gets really interesting.

The light behaves like a wave of potential energy until it hits something. At that instant it materializes as a photon and is capable of knocking an electron out of its orbit around an atom of the material it “hits.” We can’t really see light until it bounces off of some object unless we are looking at its source.

Along with the uncertainty principle which states that we are unable to simultaneously ascertain the speed and location of a particle, this wave/particle duality changed what we consider to be the nature of the material world. Einstein’s laws of the conservation of matter and energy are pretty familiar. Neither matter nor Energy can be created or destroyed but only converted one to the other.

If the fundamental building blocks of our world now had to be described in terms of “probability patterns” and matter and energy are considered two opposing states of the same universal essence, our little world gets a lot less hard, dense and certain.

Esoteric Training and Psychic Development – Part 2

We have covered the basic ideas of study, meditation, and service and I have not yet mentioned psychic development. This is to a certain extent, by design. Psychic development may be running parallel to the entire process described above, but this is a natural process and somewhat misunderstood. We have been told that telepathic as well as other sensitivities are not developed but rather, recognized over time as having always been present. We don’t become sensitive but become aware of our sensitivities. This is done in part by quieting the mind in meditation and is a natural part of the unfoldment of consciousness through esoteric training. There is no need to work on the development of psychic sensitivity. If it is present it can become over emphasized in consciousness and control must be maintained as well as a sharp eye for the glamour that can accompany it.

This kind of sensitivity can be a blessing or a burden which holds the student within a crystallized thought form. If the mind and the awareness are trained first, it seems the student can handle those sensitivities more ably when they do arise. I believe my intuition is strong and I do not have the need to assign the things that occur in my thinking and feeling natures to some outside source. We are taught to contact and identify ourselves with the soul aspect of our nature because it is in tune with all else we can know. Contact with this aspect of our being opens the door to what is limitless in potential in all of us.

This contact is Psychic Development on a deeper level. It is not the glamorized voices in the head or imagined channeling of the neophyte but the heightened awareness of the trained Disciple. The word Psyche means Soul so anything truly Psychic in nature relates to Soul awareness. This is the central objective of Esoteric Training as I understand it. Of course my understanding is based on limited exposure to the training and will expand as I grow in both my intellectual grasp and direct apprehension over time. Emphasis is bound to change as progress is made but the general direction can be assumed to remain, upward and inward.

In “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”  there is a quote inserted as a precursor to the journey Carlos Castaneda is about to embark upon by a philosopher named George Simmel. “…nothing more can be attempted than to establish the beginning and the direction of an infinitely long road. The pretension of any systematic and definitive completeness would be at least a self illusion. Perfection here is to be obtained by the individual student only in the objective sense that he communicates everything he has been able to see.” It should be noted that he is not talking about Mr. Castaneda because Simmel had long since passed when Castaneda began his training.

The idea is that any attempt to map out the individual steps of an infinitely long journey is at best a waste of time and at its worst, delusional. In either case the effort is futile but in my eyes the failure to recognize that futility and thinking that you can map it out is worse. I found this illustrated in my experience in the labyrinth. If you look at the whole thing it is dizzying, but the next few steps are always obvious and the ultimate goal is always in view. The best one can hope to do is keep the big picture in mind so you don’t lose your general direction, pay attention to the next few steps right in front of you; the business at hand… and then share the experience as Mr. Castaneda did in bringing us with him.

Another interesting phrase I have heard in this regard is that “no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” The world seemingly has its own ideas about what is going to happen and if you want to influence the outcome you are going to have to adjust. That is what consciousness does; sense the environment and alter behavior in response. Observe the results and adjust again.  Were we to map out the entire process we would have to change the entire process and any adjustment would mean recalculating the entire route like a GPS does when you make a wrong turn.

That is why living the teaching is a must. If we don’t apply what we learn, we really haven’t learned it yet. This is especially true in the field of conscious exploration. Consciousness serves as both the instrument and field of enquiry. There is nothing else that will do the job and so we must use what we know and sense as the bootstraps we incorporate in lifting ourselves to the next level. Mathematics is built in this way for the same reason. The only thing we can use to explore math is math. We prove a theory through repetition and then correlation to earlier established laws, which it now joins as a part of a larger foundation for further theoretical experimentation. Without this new discovery as a tool, the next theory may not even be postulated and the journey is misdirected slowed or halted completely. In the case of the exploration of consciousness through esoteric training the opened mind and heart will continue opening as long as there is a question to pursue.

If the student is willing and can be directed into certain types of activities, there is a layered effect. One can develop the will, for instance, through any act done with discipline. The act of standing on a chair for 15 minutes every morning will exercise the will. You must do it every day whether you feel like it or not, and anything done this way will strengthen the will. The problem with this approach is that standing on a chair does little else, and it’s not even good for the chair. If we decide to Meditate for 15 minutes each day we develop the will and also get the benefits of Meditation. If we follow a plan developed specifically to an end, like soul contact or the development of specific attitudes of harmlessness and right speech, we add another layer to the same practice.

If we now study harmlessness as we meditate on it, over a period of time we will find a depth to the idea that we could not come to by any other means. We now add another layer, and benefit more from the study through meditation, and more from the meditation through further study and the increased ability to understand what is being studied. We are exploring the world of meaning and Meditation is central to our journey because it is the application of acquired knowledge in the furtherance of this conscious research, but the deeper application of this knowledge is service. To live the teachings is to serve.  As Meditation creates a better Meditator, service creates a better server.

I am a servant of humanity and I feel for my fellowmen. I see them sleeping and know that even though I am barely awakening, the world looks very different to me and I want them to experience it. I have an urge to shake them awake but I know it is only possible to plant an occasional seed that will take hold when the person is ready. Many strive to further their spiritual development by serving the Masters. Djwahl Kuhl reminds us that the Masters serve humanity. If you want to serve the Masters help them in their work, don’t worship them.

Nothing can bring a man closer to his fellowman than to help when he is in need. It is mutually beneficial and both parties grow in the process. Nietzsche told us to serve an unfair master better, to “put God in your debt”, knowing that we are in a sense paying into a system that reflects back into our lives the results of our actions. We create beauty or horror, and then live in it. Esoteric Training gives us the ability to recognize the choices and then choose consciously. Given the knowledge that our world is of our making who would not choose to create beauty?

As a group and a social aggregation we have the ability to raise our collective consciousness as well. Bruce Lipton in his book Spontaneous Healing said that a cell only has two states of being, and they are protection and growth. Interestingly the cell cannot grow while it is protecting itself. Human beings and groups are higher reflections of the same spiritual laws and thus we cannot grow while our attention is consumed with survival. Our job as parents is to create a safe and yet challenging environment where our children can thrive. This has gotten us where we are today, but we need to recognize a larger family and widen the circle of influence and cooperation to eventually include all of humanity.

If we all feel safe enough we can all begin to explore the world of meaning. The search for the inner meaning in the events and circumstances of our lives is the road to the discovery of the inner self as well. I feel my role as a teacher is to bring as many people as I can to the point where they are becoming observant. Observation leads to understanding. Many of us spend so much time in a state of near unconsciousness. Esoteric Training is the exploration of and therefore the expansion of conscious awareness. It is the realization of our creative role in our lives. We make that role real through the act of understanding and begin to create consciously instead of the haphazard way the average man creates his life.

Through this training and the attitude of observation which it necessitates, we learn to interact with the universe in a more harmonious way. Our sensitivities become more apparant becasue we are observing not only our surroundings but our  selves and our reactions or responses to the events in our lives. This recognition results in what is characterized as Psychic Sensitivity but it is more simply an increase in our overall awareness. We are all psychic. We are not all aware of it.

Esoteric Training and Psychic Development – Part 1

In considering any subject from Philosophy or Science to Literature, it seems the first step is to define the field of enquiry. Just what is it we are to consider and will there be any boundaries? Esoteric training is in the broadest sense so all encompassing as to make the term almost meaningless. The moment we look at a happening, a thought, a feeling, or perhaps an inspiration, in considering its “meaning” we have crossed a line into a new realm. Every pursuit of something as yet unknown fits into this category, and is in that broad sense Esoteric Training because in such pursuits the student is essentially self taught. The moment he asks the question “why?”, with regard to what he observes in his world, his quest has begun. Only he is qualified to say when he has found the answer. There is an implication of detachment in the question “why?” even if it is voiced as a complaint about some outside circumstance to which he feels he has fallen victim. And then, even this could be seen as the beginnings of the journey toward the conscious direction of one’s life when looked at retrospectively from some future time, whether it is recognized at this moment or not.

There are stages and classifications that can be made within the realm of this inner training and we will certainly take this discussion to a greater depth in a number of them. We are all on our own path and yet we all simultaneously share the path of the evolution of consciousness and will tend to encounter similar problems at similar stages of our development. Those who have gone before us can serve as guides, if we let them. It is, in the last analysis, only the individual student who can determine the approach he will take to life and learning. The guides of the race are there to lend a hint when the student is open to their aid, but the responsibility lies with the student alone.

Formal training can hasten the process of development because the student is guided by those who know the path from their own experience and have gained insight and wisdom. They have developed the ability to see firsthand what the student is only able to perceive in fleeting moments, and to imagine. They apprehend the meanings behind events because they perceive the world of energy and force, and have learned to work on these planes with facility. They can forewarn of pitfalls along the way and suggest practices and visualizations based on their knowledge of these things rather than having the student feel his way along the path blindly until he has gained the ability through trial and error, to see for himself.

This is always the way the early parts of the path are traversed. The eager neophyte opens many doors looking for a system or method that will suit his personality equipment, although he may not be conscious of the fact that this is what he s doing. He just thinks he is “dabbling” in something. In the early stages of character building the student is not aware that he is a student. He is awakening to the need for integrity in his life but he does not know what he is integrating. He is trying to do the right thing in each circumstance because that is “what you do”. He is already practicing right aspiration, he is likely to be looking at his occupation and other aspects of his orientation outside of the context of what he might consider “religious” matters. Harmlessness, right speech and other aspects of the philosophies are creeping into his consciousness because he is realizing that he has a responsibility to “act” a certain way.

This can cause conflict in his life as he establishes this new rhythm. Old ways will resurface at weak moments and he will fail to live up to what he is learning over and over as he develops this feeling of responsibility. In my experience it was prompted by the birth of my daughter. It made me want to be a better man. When I later took conscious control of my life and started traveling this road with intent, I did look back to this period of my life and realize that it had been a turning point. One of many, and I had been on the path long before I knew it consciously. I had begun a process of “cleaning up my act” which was purifying my body and bringing my emotions under control. I stopped drinking alcohol along the way and became physically active and healthy again.

Without the alcohol causing friction in our lives my wife and I reached new levels of intimacy and communication. We talked openly about the things we could do to make our relationship better and then did them because we were aspiring to a better life and decided these things would get us there.

This leads to a kind of vigilance about one’s behavior. The student is detaching from the situations and seeing from a different kind of vantage point what impact a particular kind of stimulus is having, and metering the response instead of just reacting. He is living the examined life.

Perhaps the student at this stage has already been consulting books and other media for help in dealing with these situations but he is really still on his own in the sense that he is finding his way based on the experimentation of living in the world. All of the development in the life of the disciple is born of this livingness and the active observation of the reactions of the personal self by the shifting of the identity to a higher level within the myriad aspects of the individual human consciousness. He is looking at everything in a new way and soon he becomes aware of this too.

A moment must be reached when a commitment is made and this good-hearted wanderer becomes a disciple of the truth and knows he can never go back to the way he lived before. He must live up to what he knows, and he must know. There comes a need to understand, and then the Universe becomes the University. He is a conscious traveler on the path and I believe this is where true esoteric training can begin.

He has been inspired to study and the mind and awareness are being honed, but the next step is to turn consciousness upon itself through the use of Meditation. Meditation applied within a disciplined program rather than an occasionally practiced form of relaxation. There are many forms of meditation and the student must find his own way in to an effective form. I found my way to the Arcane School and find an amazing affinity to the work of the Tibetan Master Djwahl Kuhl. In that way he is my teacher and I believe that through his work I have gained a better understanding of the world. He once said a true esoteric school would never be large and I can see very few people who are really working on themselves in a serious way, but many are fertile ground for the seeds of future development if encouraged just a little.

The true nature of the path we trod is that the student cannot be denied what he has earned, any more than he can be given what he has not. That is because he travels the path of wisdom. This is knowledge lovingly applied. If you do not live this lesson you don’t get to see the next. To an extent we can move on but there is an undeveloped part of us that we now must drag along until we deal with it. These things eat away at people and cause irritation. We see adults that simply turn back into their child self under circumstances they have not learned to deal with. For me it came out as anger. Some get depressed or feel hurt, some act out, I got angry and yelled. There are also those who become observers in their own lives and recognize those things in themselves that the average person can only see in other people. The immediate goal is to become one of them. All we need to do is to begin paying attention, and Meditation facilitates conscious awareness. That seems redundant on its surface, but we truly become aware of being aware.

Coupling the meditative practice with the topical study of the spiritual principles brings the student concurrently into the intellectual grasp and personal experience of the process being undertaken. Rather than blindly following meditation instructions, the student is taught why he is visualizing in a certain way and what it symbolizes. I have found that this process has brought the teaching out in my life. I am living the teaching and the teaching is living me.

The introduction of service as a living ideal amplifies every part of the process. This is the “living the teaching”, and “living up to what you know” part. We can serve as examples to those around us; examples of harmless living and open loving and tolerant attitudes. I try to help anyone any way that I can. I have many gifts and talents and I give them freely. This type of behavior is contagious, like all else. It brings a different kind of awareness into the equation. The awareness of interdependence, unity, community, family, and an attitude of gratitude.

The Mental Plane and the Antahkarana – Part Two

In order to gain access to a greater level of understanding we must tune our consciousness and bridge a gap in awareness. The life force flows downward from the Spiritual Triad into the form and vivifies it. The amount of this vital force that makes its presence felt in the physical, mental, and emotional man, determines his vitality and effectiveness as an individual. This is true even though it flows from an aspect of himself that knows the whole. The gap is in consciousness, for we are all connected to the one at all times. We are simply incapable of the awareness of this fact until we reach a certain level of development and begin to bridge this gap in consciousness, consciously.

The Antahkarana is the name given to this complex bridge of living mental essence which connects the form to the life giving reality behind its manifestation. The Antahkarana is known as the consciousness portion of the bridge as well as its totality. The Sutratma or silver cord is a portion of this stream of energy which brings the life force into the form. It extends from the spiritual triad to the physical being and it is anchored in the heart. The Antahkarana or consciousness thread extends from the personality to the Soul and is anchored in the head. The early stages of building are accomplished unconsciously and are related to this part of the bridge. This is part of the process of Soul infusion. The direct connection of the Soul, and the greater awareness and wider field of impression, are brought into the range of the personality. They become one spiritual man on the mental plane oriented toward the highest aspect of the self through intent. This is an act of the Will, and we can see how the aspiration of the neophyte is transmuted into spiritual will in the disciple. This requires a true mental orientation, the development of the powers of visualization and the subjugating of personality desires into a life of discipline and dedication to the expansion of one’s awareness.

The heart and head begin to work together and the result is creativity. We have the intelligence aspect brought to bear on the problem through a loving approach by the personality. Another stream or thread related to creativity is woven by the personality, bringing these separate parts of the human nature together. In fact, they are only separate with regard to personality expression so this is necessarily so. As the disciple grows, he moves from the early signs of responsibility to a greater expression of creativity. The head and heart centers relate their energies into the force of expression seen as the activity of the throat center.

We have knowledge (force), wisdom (energy), and truth (spirit), as related to the lower concrete mind (personality), the son of mind (Soul) and the higher mind (the Spiritual Triad of Atma Buddhi and Manas). When the disciple becomes more competent at the work of building consciously through visualization, we see that he is now bridging the gap between the Soul infused personality and the Triad. As we approach the knowledge of that unity consciously, the need for the Soul as an interpreter disappears and at the fourth initiation, after the transfiguration of the mind and unification of the personality, the Soul is burned up and sacrificed. The Master that is the result of this process is now aware on a level beyond Soul consciousness which can be seen as monadic consciousness. As we approach the awareness of unity we become a more effective, clear, and true reflection of the divinity that is our essential nature. We do this in awareness alone, because it has always been the truth. It has simply been beyond our ability to understand while we related too closely to our form aspect.

The Mental Plane and the Antahkarana – Part One

The Mental Plane can be defined as a range of living energy within the continuum of spiritual expression through matter. It is where the creative aspect organizes what will become manifest on the physical planes. Mind is above all else an organizing force and we are taught that energy follows thought. Thought organizes and gives shape to form. This is why we call that aspect of the trinity Intelligent Activity or Active Intelligence. This organizing force is automatically creative, because in a sense the act of creation is really more an act or re-arraigning preexistent material into something new. Even in the case of an idea.

This is a meeting place where divinity and the material world merge within the cosmos and within man himself. Man is a creator and a creation as well. He is a system, as well as an atom in a greater whole, so he is also a meeting place where these forces and energies interact. When we speak of the lower mind we are considering the aspects of intelligence in man which are most closely related to the physical planes, and the personality. Newtonian physics provides us with an understanding of how physical objects behave. The hard facts associated with the physical nature allow us to project force on that plane. The mathematics of trajectory give us the ability to predict where an object will land, knowing the force and angle with which it is thrust into the air.

We can understand the physical world and predict events based on this type of knowledge, but it falls short of wisdom because its application is cold and calculated. In order to be considered wisdom there is another factor involved. Wisdom is knowledge lovingly applied, or love intelligently applied. Knowing the effect a decision will have on the other planes such as the emotional, and not simply the physical, requires a higher level of understanding and application of principals. King Solomon offered to cut a child in half in order to settle the dispute between two women who each claimed to be his mother. This was because he knew the emotional effect this would have on the child’s actual mother. She would never allow it even if it meant losing her son. He applied this wisdom and understanding to the situation and knew who’s child it was by the reactions of the women. This is a Soul aspect of mind and higher than the first because it incorporates another aspect of the Trinity, Love.

As the Soul’s love is infused with the personality traits like concrete mind and activity, we see a transformation of the selfish personality based love, and individual mind, into something greater and more encompassing. We know that person to not only be smart, but wise. Soul infusion is not just direction by the Soul, having taken control and subordinated personality needs to the greater good. It is a transformation of the personality and its needs. It is a re-defining of those needs, because it is an increase in the scope of the consciousness of the individual into an awareness of an ever expanding whole. This is the One Life, of which he has always been a part. This expanding awareness and the fusion of these two aspects of himself give him the first opportunity to contact an even higher aspect of mind. This higher mind is capable of understanding without a concrete reasoning process, so it is more than the wise or loving application of what has been reasoned through. It is awareness of truth, through the faculty of the intuition.

We are all capable of an intuitive understanding of things. We can sometimes know the truth of a set of circumstances after having heard three or four versions of these events from different people. A bell goes off and we feel we “know” what was at the root of the matter. This is a lower reflection of the intuition with which we can all relate. The higher intuition is resonant with a higher form of truth because it is not stepped down as far on the continuum between the spiritual essence and the forms it creates.

In my next post we will discuss the bridging of the gap in consciousness through the building of the Antahkarana.

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

But, who is the teacher? In what would seem under any other circumstances a simple question with a simple answer, we are given the opportunity to take a multi layered look at the problem of the disciple. Who the teacher is, depends on the level of the disciple’s understanding. There is always a teacher present and as the disciple realizes this presence “the teacher appears,” as the old saying tells us. He is ready for the next stage in his development and becomes aware of what was already present.

We are told is the Soul is the first teacher in the life of the disciple, but there have actually been many teachers prior to his awakening to the presence of his Soul. Other travelers on the path are his instructors and every situation in which he finds himself is a teachable moment. In the life of discipleship these circumstances are not random, but of the Soul’s doing. Long before he has conscious contact with his Soul, it begins to influence his life and his life circumstances (note those words) in ways he will not understand immediately. This will lead him into trouble, for until he has some awareness of this influence he will not be changing his behavior consciously. This is why the probationer falters.

We can train a dog to change its behavior with various techniques over time. In this case the dog must be conditioned over and over in order to have the behavioral pattern change. The repitition is necessary because the dog is not consciously aware that it is being taught. It is simply responding and adapting to its environment. The trainer is changing that environment with an intent the dog cannot comprehend. This trial and error takes much time and in the case of the evolving human entity, many lives. Once the urge to meditate and search for the inner meaning of life’s occurrences sets him on the path to conscious recognition of the source of these changes, he must face himself clearly and responsibly. As responsibility grows in him, he begins to sense what is right and does it because he can see no other way.

As he learns and grows, the Soul takes an ever increasing role in his life and he (as a personality) begins to gain conscious contact with this guiding force in his life. This is when he has the power to use the discipline that has led him up to this point in carrying out the Soul’s purpose for this incarnation. Obedience to these clues and intuitions will accelerate his growth. Ignoring them will cause him trouble. A teacher named Dr. Trenton Tully, who founded the Denver Metaphysicla Research Society, and whose lectures I was privileged to listen to after his passing, said that all suffering was due to the aspirant failing to “live up to what he knows.” In this context it is very true. It illustrates the warnings we hear of the danger of refuting the teaching once it is understood. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power. Failure to use this power correctly puts one “in the service of darkness.”

There are other teachers along the lighted way and more advanced disciples can save him time with their guidance based on a deeper understanding. Failure to heed these other more advanced travelers (or even recognize them) will cost time, and potentially result in painful experience. The student must discern for himself, but part of that discriminatory process is the ability to recognize guidance and take advice. Even the Master, who will appear later in the life (or lives) of the disciple, will not insist on a particular path, but allow him to make his own choices. They do not insist on obedience but progress along the lighted way depends on this.

The free will of the human consciousness is not infringed and necessarily, we all begin as black magicians developing our awareness for our own benefit. The New Age movement of the 70’s had this sort of inherent selfishness. People desired personal and spiritual grouwth for the effect it had on themselves, not for the benefit of humanity. As we gain in development, and the awareness of ourselves as a part of a greater whole, our further progress requires us to use that knowledge for the greater good. This is obedience to the plan itself. The obedience to the Master is really obedience to his work. If you want to come into the service of one of the guides of the race you must show yourself as useful to him by serving humanity. That is what he is doing. They do not seek our worship. They seek useful servants in the furtherance of the plan. If you wish to receive further instruction and responsibility then you must fulfill the tasks he has already assigned to you. In this way it is the disciple’s choice and his will which is developed, and incidentally, his karma.

The Masters do not seek trained puppies to do their bidding. They require those who become capable of working on their own for the greater good. This system of the relating of the teaching and delegation of responsibilities stands up leaders among men. They become what the military would call “force multipliers” in the service of humanity.

Key Seven – Spiritual Truth is Necessarily Given in Symbolism

Remember that when we talk and think in symbols we are placing something

between ourselves and reality – something protective, interpretive and

significant, but something nevertheless veiling and hiding.

The Master Djwahl Kuhl

 

Merriam Webster defines the word symbol as a noun: an action, object, event etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality. Another definition I found was “a letter, group of letters, character, or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words.”

When we think of symbols, most of us think of pictograms and hieroglyphs but that is just one way of using symbols. A glyph generally looks like the object it represents. Language is a complex symbolic system in which the symbols do not look like the objects (or ideas) they represent. Words are symbols made of symbols, because letters are symbols too. The letters represent sounds which when uttered together can represent not only an object but a concept.

The word automobile doesn’t look like a car, but that is what we all get from the word because of our common experience in the world. Automobile simply means “moves by itself” but we have come to associate it throughout our culture as a car. It is a concept because it represents more than just one car but the idea of all cars. This concept of “car” means something slightly different to each person who hears or uses the word. The average driver has one interpretation, and the engineer has another, based on the diversity of their experience, but there is enough common experience for them to communicate about a car.

How deep does this idea go? That same car can represent success or failure to an individual. Other “status symbols” can make you feel success or achievement. Your entire life can be seen as symbolic of a certain kind of struggle to those around you or, if you gain notoriety to the country, or the world. Story tellers can use this symbolic language to teach us a moral through the life experiences of a fictional character, or select specific events in the life of a real person to get a certain type of point across. Some people may readily see the back story as it unfolds and others may need the author to explain it through the denouement.

We all see the same movie but walk away with a different impression. The life experience we bring to the theatre colors the way we interpret the story. This is what the writers of scripture and fable capitalize on when transmitting certain types of truth. When we move into the arena of faith, what is being transmitted by the backstory is the real story. When the idea is abstract, or as in the case of spiritual truth, must be experienced personally, a symbolic transmission of the truth is necessary. For instance, we cannot prove, or even define God. By most definitions it is indefinable (oddly enough). Even labeling it with the word God is a limitation so the Hebrew faith refers to the ultimate creator as “he about whom naught can be said.” Lao Tsu tells us that “the Tao that can be discussed is not the real Tao.”

If we cannot discuss it, or speak about it without distorting the idea, the only thing we have left is to point at it in a vague way from a number of different perspectives and hope the point gets through. For some people it will become clear and for some it will not. Some will gain a faint understanding and never see the whole picture. Some will not realize the story has a point at all. That is the continuum of understanding of spiritual truth. To someone who is unaware of the use of symbolism, or does not have the keys to unlock their meaning the truth remains veiled.

These are the people who will only see the literal meaning of a scripture. They see The New Testament as the story of the life and times of a Rabbi in Palestine. This can offer inspiration to their lives because of the things he went through and the experiences they have had throughout their lives may relate to his in some meaningful way. For others, with “eyes that see and ears that hear,” a deeper meaning is revealed. In the case of The New Testament, we have a story about the enlightenment of not only that particular Rabbi, but the path it takes for every single human being as we evolve our understanding about ourselves and the universe we share. If you are curious about this idea it is treated at length in my father Anthony J. Fisichella‘s last book. It was the final book of his Trilogy, “One Solitary Life” and it is titled “The Christ Epoch.”

There is another aspect to this use of symbolism when it relates to spiritual truth. The awareness of these ideas will empower someone in very specific ways. These truths can be used for the general good or selfish gain (evil). Power in the wrong hands is dangerous, so in order to preserve and communicate the truth it must be veiled from the profane. In the words of Geoffrey Hodson the symbolic presentation is use to “both conceal and reveal” the truth.

It is with these ideas in mind that we will explore the presentation of these spiritual ideas within the pages of my upcoming book “Spiritual Practicality – The Seven Keys to the Mysteries of the Ageless Wisdom.”

The Seven Keys – Key 6 – All forms of life embrace lesser forms, and are in turn embraced by greater forms.

If you have been following along, this may seem a little redundant after discussing our 5th Key. It is an important distinction because now we are talking about a hierarchy of life, not just the classification of matter. In addition to worlds within worlds, we have lives within lives, embraced by the One Life. In this context, the idea of a “greater” form of life simply means a more complex and encompassing one which is the result of a higher level of consciousness. The earth is a living organism; an assemblage and community of the differing life forms which make up its totality. It is the macrocosm (big universe) to our microcosm (little universe). It embraces us on our journey as we embrace the billions of varied cellular level lives, as well as the hitch hikers and stow-aways we take along for the ride within our own smaller system, or “ring pass not.” There are many organisms within your body which are decidedly not human, such as the over one hundred trillion microbes of over 400 different types in your digestive tract alone. From the perspective of those lives, you are the macrocosm. These are separate little creatures living within you who are as crucial to your survival as you are to theirs. I hope you are beginning to see how these ideas are all couched within one another.

 

It is the Law of Analogy which reveals truth to the human mind so effectively. If it what we are discussing is universal truth, then by definition we should see it expressed on all levels within our range of perception. If not, we are not dealing with universal truth. If so, we have earned the ability to project that truth into realms we cannot perceive directly to see what our intuition may reveal to us. Let’s start over and project the idea upwards.

 

Imagine what you would be like if all of those little lives within you were capable of knowing your intent and working toward it consciously. What if they knew they were an integral part of “you” and that their efforts served a greater purpose? We have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything and it conjures up images of little people running round inside a big robot yelling “we need more power” but, it is a useful metaphor to a point. You are a unit of consciousness within a greater consciousness which, in turn, is a part of something even greater. If you can in some way perceive and then align yourself with the greater purpose, you can hasten its progress.

 

On a physical level you are an animal body, which is one of literally billions of your own species, evolving together within a greater organism called Earth. You are surrounded by an infinite number of other physical beings who share a destiny, either consciously or unconsciously. We can perceive groups within groups within groups with all manner of classification, and yet one being, clinging to a ball of dust hurtling through space. The same holds true for the concepts of mind and emotion. You are a mental being, which is a fragment of the mind of God. Your love is the love of God in microcosm. Not of some old man in the sky, but of that greater organism; a greater level of organization of not only matter but the life of which it is a mere reflection.

 

This too is a living entity which is part of something greater; a solar system, a galaxy and the universe(s). You are a cell in that being and all of the greater lives in which it is a living part. To know and be in touch with the will of God and live in harmony with the greater being of which we are a part is the stated goal of religious teachings. Can you see now that it is a symbolism created to guide you to this understanding of unity? We will look at symbolism as the necessary method of communication used in the transmission of these ideas in our 7th Key. It unlocks the secrets of the universe if you just recognize it for what it is.