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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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.

Soul Contact and Illumination

As I learn and grow I get a feeling that I am becoming a better person, but not just in a general sense. I feel I am becoming better at being me. We all fall short of our ideals sometimes. That ideal expression of what it is to be me. The closer I come to my Soul the more pure and true does it shine through me. Meditation is the gateway to Soul communication.

Many of us do not listen to that still small voice, so what they are expressing is the personality. The programmed responses that have been put there by our parents, teachers, family and friends. That is not what it is to be me. That is what it is to fit the societal programming with cultural morays etc. It is the fears that a violent father may burn in. It’s the insecurity that may be the result of the neglect of a mother who was an addict.

All of these things are like mind viruses or emotional ones. They are not the self. Modern Psychology has become a system of behavioral modifications. This is the re-programming of the personality and it is a useful step, but it is not the knowledge of the psyche or Soul as the term originally meant. You have to get the personality straight first but then the urge to meditate comes in and over time Soul awareness grows and the Soul’s purpose for incarnation becomes an attainable goal. For most probationers on the path the awareness of the Soul is the next step and goal. If you are consciously walking a spiritual path, as anyone reading this forum undoubtedly is, then you are striving to that higher expression of self. I do see it as a more pure expression of what really is. The goal is to “burn away the dross” as scripture puts it.

I think of an analogy with a light bulb covered in dust. The light inside shines bright, but the light can barely be seen from the outside. That is the average person walking down the street. Divine in essence but not in expression. As we clear away these obstructions it is like burning off the debris and then the light of the bulb, which internally has always shined intensely, is now apparent and lighting the world in a different way. Now, if you look closely at the frosted surface of the bulb you will see that there is actually a filament inside the bulb. This is sometimes described as the light within the light. The bulb shines but there is a visible hot spot which is really the source of illumination. The inner self illumines the outer and as we clear away more and more of these obstructions we have a person who shines like a light in the world.

Were we able to get rid of even that frosted coating you would see only the light of the filament right through the now perfectly clear glass of the bulb. This is the point where Gandhi tells us the man has reduced himself (the lower personal self) to zero, and his power and influence are irresistible. Now the lower self is of no hindrance whatsoever to the indwelling Soul, or the true self. Spirit in individualized but purified expression and aware of its unity with the whole.

This awareness is sometimes termed “isolated unity” because though the self is fully aware of this unity with all beings and its part in the one, it is alone in this recognition. None of the beings with which it knows this unity it realizes the one-ness, like the baby who does not know it is a part of a loving family. As the baby grows, its circle of awareness and influence will begin to include family, then friends, school, community, country and all of the other groups with which we humans identify. We will eventually come to know humanity as one being. One among many earthlings, and take responsibility for the life of our planet, whin whom we live, and move, and have our being. And eventually, The One Life of which it too, is a fragment.

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.

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.

The Seven Keys – Key 5 – As it is above, so it is below.

The Oracle of Delphi advised, “know thyself, and thow hast read the world.” Madam Blavatsky told us the way we would come to an understanding of the universe is through the “Law of Correspondences.” There are many such quotes and statements of this idea; that the universe is constructed in ever-increasing spirals of complexity. It all traces back to the phrase, “As it is above, so it is below.” This was central to the teachings of the ancient Hermes Trismegistus who is said to have taken the Ageless Wisdom from Atlantis to Egypt.

The root of this idea is that vibrations manifest in repeating patterns and harmonics. Through these patterns of vibration we see the emergence of mathematical relationships. The doubling of an audio frequency results in the first harmonic or, in the most common form of musical notation, the octave note. There are relationships between the various planes of existence we will study. Just as every note necessarily has its counterpart in every octave, there are things that we will see repeatedly expressed on varied levels of physical manifestation, and consciousness as well. Cycles repeat within cycles; worlds within worlds.

Incidentally, you can see a physical plane correspondence to this phenomenon in a demonstration here  A plate is fixed to a speaker and made to vibrate at increasing frequencies. Salt is poured on the plate and it forms a definite fixed pattern because of the vibration. As the frequency is increased there is an increasing complexity to the patterns created. It opens with a statement from Nicola Tesla which fits in beautifully with our fourth and fifth keys. He said “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”

Because the universe is built up from a single substance, we see the structure of the atom repeated in the Solar System and the Galaxy. Complexity comes with scale because the Solar System is made up of atoms and the galaxy is made up of solar systems. They are orders of magnitude apart, but the patterns repeat because they are the result of the same forces, acting upon the same materials.

In the Ageless Wisdom teachings we are told that there are 7 physical sub-planes starting with solid, liquid, and gaseous, followed by 4 ethers. There are similarly 7 emotional sub-planes each with a correspondence to one of the physical ones. The emotional “octave” is of higher frequency and finer, subtler material. This is repeated with the mental planes which are finer and subtler still, on up through the finest called Adi. The coarser planes of the physical world are forged from the finer materials of the subtler planes and that is why thought and emotion can have physical effects. That is why energy, the substance of the universe, is said to follow thought, (or mind) which is its first and final organizing force.

Everything in manifestation started with an idea. The mountain in the mind of the Logos, and the carabiner and the peton in the mind of a climber. As above, so below. You are a creator in the image of God. You don’t look like God. You create within the same system of natural laws with the same techniques. The next step in your evolution is to do it consciously.

 

 

The Seven Keys – Key Four – All manifestation is cyclical. It is the result of, and conditioned by vibration.

The world around you is vibrating from every corner of existence. These vibrations sometimes harmonize, and sometimes they do not, but patterns emerge out of chaos like the autogenic effects we see in fluid dynamics. Like all of these keys, this is impersonal and factual. Science defines heat, and therefore energy itself, by molecular movement. There is perpetual motion in the universe at scales that we cannot imagine. The microwave background radiation famously and accidentally discovered by Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson are reverberations of the Big Bang that started our current great cycle or “Mahamavantara.” This is science’s version of Genesis, and since that moment when time, space, and matter began it has all been vibrating.

Ever notice that nearly everything floating around in space is round? There is no up or down in space so objects don’t make piles and liquids don’t make puddles. Gravity exists and affects everything, although this weakest of the physical forces requires a close relative proximity to be felt. If you are on the surface of the earth you feel it strongly and the moon, with its lower mass, has less ability to hold on to you. The sun holds the earth in its system because of their relative mass but we don’t feel its affect. The earth and sun are spheres, like every other large body in space and as they move and spin we see the cycles we have come to know as the seasons and days of our lives.

These cycles are caused by the very nature of the universe and they can be seen represented in every aspect of it. The orbit of the moon around the earth is as life giving at the radiation of the sun and the rotation of the earth allows for that radiation to ebb and flow just like the tides, caused by the gravity of the moon. All manifestation is cyclical. The earth’s path around the sun gives us our year and the tilt of its axis gives us the seasons. It’s not summer when we are the closest to the sun, but when the tilt of the earth makes the sunlight impact more directly. For us in the northern hemisphere that actually happens when we are farther away.

Why am I bringing all of this up? Because it is the nature of our universe and nothing escapes these cycles. Without them there is no life. Without day and night we would fry or freeze. Without the cycles of the tides provided by our moon there would be no life on earth. The seasons play their part and affect when animals and plants reproduce. You are a part of this universe and you are born of, and participate in this cyclical expression. Look around you and you will see that this fourth key is pivotal. Next we will look at how these systems and cycles are nested in one another.

The Seven Keys – Key One “There Is But One Life”

There is but One Life. All of the following Keys and everything within the religious and philosophical teachings throughout the history of humanity can be boiled down to this one concept. This infinite singular Life force expresses itself through what Lao Tzu called the myriad (or ten thousand) things. It is the basis of the teaching on the brotherhood of man, and the unity of all being. Religious systems have tended to personify this life and describe it as separate and transcendent. They mistakenly attribute to it the male principal, but the truth is that this life force is the predecessor, cause, and source of both male (spirit) and female (matter) principals as well as the consciousness (Christ) that is the result of their interaction. It is you and I and the space in between us, united and alive. In the Book of Acts we read that it is God “in whom we live and move and have our being.” St. Paul described the reverse idea when he said God was “above all, and through all, and in you all.” These two statements combined give us the idea that this life force and source is both imminent, and transcendent. All is in God and God is in all.

I would ask at this point, whatever your idea of God may be, if there is anything that could be a part of this life force, this supreme creator, and still be “dead” matter? What part of God is dead? The belief that all in the universe is alive is called Hylozoism. It is closely related to Pantheism. The problem with Theist and Deist doctrine is that it separates God from not only humanity, but from everything else. These dogma’s then suggest that “He” interferes with what he has created, and for some, he evidently doesn’t like evolution; the process by which life expresses itself in ever expanding and more complex forms.

If we ascribe the word Life as a synonym for God, most of the scriptures of the world not only still work, but they work better. Life is above all, through all, and in you all. It is within Life that we live and move and have our being. We are all immersed in a resonant translucent jello which is teeming with life. It is not always apparent, but it is there. Atoms and molecules are in constant motion and interact in predictable ways. Chemical affinities will break down when a substance with a stronger attraction is present and these bonds will re-form when the interloper is removed.

We are not, as scientific materialism suggests, apart from our environment and studying it. Where would we be? We are an integral part of all that surrounds us and this results in the observer effect recognized in virtually all areas of physical science. On all planes of existence this environment resonates and responds to all we think feel and do, and it is all permeated with a living essence shared by everything else you see, feel, and touch, along with everything you can’t see, feel, or touch.

One of the interesting aspects of the abortion issue is the question of when life begins. When did it end? The only way to “create” life is with life. A living egg fertilized by a living sperm transforms it into a living vehicle for another living entity, the human Soul, which uses it to express its infinitely more complex life. Each cell within this vehicle or body is another life unto itself and a part of the more complex organism. Each Soul is itself an expression of the One Life force animating all into being. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Having pervaded the whole universe with a fragment of myself, I remain.” The Soul (a fragment of the whole) repeats this process on its own level, giving purpose, cohesion, and direction to this newly organized expression of life.

This process is reflected in infinite layers from the most restricted form of the life essence in the mineral kingdom up into levels beyond our ability to comprehend, and it is all alive. It is all brought into being by the supreme creator who, having pervaded it with a fragment of itself, remains… One Life.