Spirituality is a progressive awakening to the inner reality of our being to a spirit self – our soul – which is other than our material mind, body and life. It brings an inner aspiration to know and to enter into contact and union with the greater reality of God’s spirit which is born within us. As the result of this aspiration, contact and union a conversion – a transformation into a new being – occurs.
We human beings are faced with basic vexing philosophic problems for which we must seek new solutions such as should we devote our efforts and energies to trying to improve this world. On the one side there is the sense of evil and material limitations in contrast with our intuition of spiritual perfection and on the other there are the capacities for intelligence and love in us and our persistent and insistent need to find every phase of our life meaningful. If the world is not worthwhile which its evils and limitations urge us to believe then we would best devote ourselves exclusively to those spiritual pursuits which could take us out of it and into another world which is. But any already perfect world would have no need of our actions to bring it to its destiny, so what then would be the role of human creativity?
If we cannot use it seriously here on Earth and need not use it in any future perfect world what can be the significance of the images of the divine love and power we contain within ourselves? If the spiritual which we seek is here in this world and the world is capable of transformation then an entirely new approach to life and living becomes possible and a way exists of combining in intellectual vision and concrete actions the extremes of human creative possibilities on the material level and the transcendent actuals of God’s spirit present in us. Essentially we must attempt to orient the minds of all humanity towards the quest for union with the spirit of God – the divine presence in this world. For this it is necessary to invoke a higher level of consciousness above the finite human levels as the bridge to reach the spiritual mindedness and realize such union on an individual basis.
Waking consciousness does not describe the whole range of human consciousness which includes subliminal consciousness, dream consciousness, the sub-consciousness and the deep unconscious. There are associated with the complex human nervous system many levels of consciousness, some lower and others higher than what we consider ordinary consciousness. One should attempt to become aware of levels of consciousness above the ordinary mind. These are not faculties or ways of knowing – they are elevated realms of being, fields of existence. When anyone ascends to one of them or its powers descend into them it is not only their knowledge which is affected but their entire being.
The key is to grasp the whole range of the levels of consciousness from the lowest mind involved in the material world through the ascending series upwards to the moral and spiritual levels of the down-reach by God’s spirit.
By devoting effort to transforming the lower levels of being by the descent of the higher levels of consciousness one may develop the most practical and relevant method for gaining an understanding and mastery of the problems of our world. Each stage of this ascent is into a new light and power of a greater existence. Important extensions of consciousness occur in all of the levels above the normal mind level but the ascent requires a new dimension in which the individual ego is replaced by a sense in which interior experiences formerly perceived as originating from the individual’s ego are now recognized as originating from a spiritual source.
One’s sense of self becomes expanded and the sense of peace, quiet, light, unity within oneself and harmony with others, the sense of being in touch with reality, of being in communion with the spirit increases from level to level. However, the lower levels of the human nature cling tenaciously to fixed habits of operating within their limited world. This is a persistence they were obliged to develop in order to maintain survival during their evolutionary growth but now for the same reason in order for spiritual evolution to advance they must give way and allow themselves to adapt in order for the volitional powers to become augmented in their intensity and effectiveness.
The realization is to become effective through all of the layers of being down to every part of the material body and that is why it alone can bring about the transformation of the whole mental, vital and material being into a perfect medium of expression of the spirit – the importance of matter and the cooperation of the human body in the achievement of the spiritual life on earth, not renunciation of the body and worldly activities.
In human beings the process of spiritual evolution reaches a point in which the product of the process begins to participate in the agency of the process and can by their free acts either prevent or make possible the next step. This is an individual process and characterizes the development which the person experiences in their consciousness and spiritual life. Through this both our world and we each can be radically transformed and spiritualized but we must work at it in order to realize this high aspiration – we must do something in order to become something.
Up until now the highest state of evolution we have observed is that of humanity in the condition of struggling for knowledge and control of the environment. Frustrated by limited vision and power we nevertheless experience strong aspirations towards a richer life – in ancient times even primitive humans were trying to attain a higher spirituality and a higher level of consciousness above mere sensations and reason. The striving upwards towards an increased consciousness is the most outstanding characteristic of human life – the urge towards spirituality is the inner driving of the spirit within human beings towards emergence – the insistence of the consciousness-force of the being towards the next step of its manifestation.
If it is true that this is primarily a spiritual evolution then the human being as is cannot be the final result of the evolution because it is too imperfect an expression of the spirit. It is in the nature of human beings to know matter, life and mind in order to master them and this is the hidden urgency of the spirit in them pressing them on to full existence and full consciousness. The stage at which humanity presently appears cannot allow them to stop where they now find themselves and the spiritual evolution must go either beyond its present term in them or else bypass them if they do not have the determination and drive to proceed. We must bring all of our forces of intellectual knowledge, willpower and practical action, all of the hidden capacities of our consciousness to bear and focus those on this one objective.
Our sense of participation in the workings of nature must increase and we must develop a more intimate intuition in harmony with nature so that our being can be aligned with the energies of the universe. That would be a real participation by the individual with the consciousness force of the universe – a conscious partner of the spirit of God. Then one would not be subject to any determinism because one would be united with the source of all determination. The human being’s will becomes truly free only when it is aligned with God’s will and if the human soul can be opened to God then it will be seen that the egoistic life was only a prelude to the superior human life even as early animal life with no reflective consciousness was only a prelude to the appearance of human consciousness levels.
Such an opening to the spirit would mean the transformation of the limited ego into a conscious centre of unity and freedom and would be the spiritual result towards which the cycles of our evolution are moving. There are clear signs of the superior consciousness to come and in those capable of sensation of it the stirring of their mind is evidence. There are higher levels of consciousness, and spirituality emerging in mind is the sign of the power which itself has founded and constituted body, mind and life, and is now emerging as a spiritual being in a living and thinking material body.
Just how far the emergence will progress and whether the emerging spirituality will become dominant in its turn as has mind, life and matter before it is the question, and whether human beings will be the instrument and whether our world will be the scene of this most remarkable achievement. When there is a decisive emergence one sign of it is a consciousness which knows itself by the very fact of its being, is aware in it of something that is not mind or life or body. Evidently there is a spiritual consciousness which is other than the mental which testifies to the existence of a spiritual being in us which is different from our outer mental personality.
This is already a considerable evolution and amounts to the beginning of a spiritual transformation. The spiritual being once inwardly liberated can develop in their mind the higher states of being and draw down into them energy and power from above to augment their nature by rising into the higher state of consciousness. If the infinite potential of the human being, who alone stands between spirit and matter with the power to mediate between them, has any meaning other than an ultimate awakening from the delusions of material existence then such an emergence of the spirit in humans would be that uplifted goal – a real victory of spirit over mind, life and matter through a free occupation of mind life and body by conscious spirit.
The control of mind, body and life by the higher consciousness has already been achieved to some degree by some human beings but the full transformation is still to come in which the spiritual consciousness will realize its manifestation upon Earth not only in soul but in matter. The earthly life need not be anguished. Spiritual attainment by human beings is the means whereby God may become manifested in the material world. The condition of receptivity is the opening of the self to the power of the spirit above but the active principle in the transformation is accomplished only by the grace of God following the call from the individual who is willing to recognize and not deny the illumination when it comes. Human effort is necessary to prepare them to receive the higher consciousness when it descends.
This effort involves integration of all of the aspects of life and its goal is to see the spiritualized mind freely expressing itself in the material matter of the human body, which is the unity of the highest and the lowest. Its goal does not involve escape from this world – it is life in the midst of the world, combining all features of human activity. It works as much by the descent of higher powers into the lower levels as by endeavouring to raise human consciousness up to the higher levels and its ideal is not just the elevation of the individual but also of the entire race of human beings.
Now of course it is not expected that this elevation will occur in the whole human race at once but that there will become a general admission of the ideal and a widespread endeavour on behalf of all. The actual achievement is always the work of the individual, with the gradually rising general level of consciousness made possible only by individuals who will constitute growing communities. Just as the individual is crucial in bringing the whole world to spiritual realization because finding the soul is the first step in the transformation, conversely it is the individual’s failure to find and live by their real self – their soul – that is the source of all of the evil and troubles in this world.
At the outset, in order for the soul to emerge and dominate the entire being there must first be a direct contact with the spiritual reality, which is to say the soul must consciously reach out towards God. Only such an overpowering contact can integrate all of the various aspects of our being and energize it for the conversion that is the prerequisite. There are various ways of reaching out for this contact and one way is through the thinking mind leading to the realization of its truth and value above all personal attachments to others. Another way is when the mind goes beyond to the awareness of Supreme Personal Being and attains love for God and all other creatures. Yet another way is to practice consecration of the personal, pragmatic will and all of its actions and the personal will becomes identified with the will of the spirit – the body, mind, intellect and personality all become dedicated to the spirit.
By combining these approaches a condition is attained in which there is a larger and more complex openness within us to the reality now felt from above which is enveloping and penetrating our being. One must transfer the seat of one’s personal identity to the inner being and become the soul. The soul then becomes the ruler and guide of the entire human nature under the over-control of the inborn spirit and the whole conscious being is made ready for spiritual experiences and begins to ascend out of ignorance.
After this movement inwards there must be an opening upwards to a higher existence and the descent of its powers into our being, even into the lowest recesses of the life and body and mind – into the subconscious. This is the invasion of the infinite into the finite, an invasion of spirit into matter. A person undergoing this transformation who lives in the presence of these higher spiritual experiences may frequently have a sense of being divided – they become aware of an inner self who enjoys the realization of things spiritual and an outer self who is still governed by the material values of existence. Only the descent of the higher mind with its perfect unity of truth and knowledge can establish in the outer as in the inner existence the harmony of the spirit for it alone can transform the values of the human being.
Then a different condition of life prevails, a transition which the lower nature is itself entirely incapable of effecting. The most we can do is prepare ourselves to receive this grace of God. All of this implies the sacrifice by the nature of the individual of its most cherished established ways. The mind must abandon its favourite ways of idea formation and all of its preconceived notions and opinions, all habits of judgment and observation. It must abandon its desires and reflex actions and all its instinctive attachments to the ways of the physical body – all of those must be made available for transformation by the descending spiritual consciousness.
When the ascent to the higher consciousness or its descent into us begins it follows certain steps – grades. It passes through levels of consciousness which are intermediate between ordinary conscious mind and Illumined mind. These are domains of being – states of existence. It will descend into the world and develop the powers of the spirit in the human nature and this new power will be essentially a control of the spirit over mind, life and matter.
The spiritualizing being will experience all of their actions in the world as those of God’s spirit acting through them and they will become aware of this in every part of their individual consciousness and every part of their physical being. The individual concerned will be in the world and also exceed it in their consciousness and live in their transcendent self above it. The transformed being will be aware of Spiritual Reality and it is for that they will exist – for its will in their self and in a spirit of large universality. A comprehensive change of being is God’s intention for human beings and it will reach its objective by totally integrating the human and the spiritual aspects, that God may be transcendent, universal and individual – all in all.
There has been a long tradition teaching that the ultimate goal for humanity cannot be achieved in this world. All of the religions have taught that this world is only the arena for the trial of the soul which will then find its rest and rewards elsewhere in some hereafter. However it is not impossible for human beings to achieve the goal within the world through continuous transformation. It is not inconsistent that a human being can be united with the Infinite and still be incarnate in the finite world because God can incarnate part of His nature in a finite form in a human being. Clearly the two are not contradictory – it is only our mental logic which would persuade us that these are incompatible.
It is not finitude or limitation or being within material form that is the barrier to union with God’s spirit. Simply it is false delusion – the illusion of our being identified with our ego and the belief that we are separate entities excluded from direct communication with God which is the barrier. And so it is not getting rid of the material world that makes the difference but ridding ourselves of egotism. How can this be done? Why should we not trust the power of God in this world to accomplish it? We must play an active role in this – it will not just happen automatically because it involves our basic freedom of choice. It is our own self-consciousness which has to be transformed and this is not easy with our unconscious and subconscious habits and tendencies.
Nothing in God’s spirit finding self-expression in this world has ever been easy. Everything has developed slowly and from its own potentials. Since God has chosen to manifest Himself in the finite in this way let us not be weak or revolt against the world or become impatient but let us instead unite ourselves with the spirit and cooperate in this great enterprise. Let us call upon God to sustain us in the struggle to bring on the next phase of the His manifestation planned for this world. It is difficult but it is not impossible. There is evolution and since this is so we need not seek to escape from the world to advance. And since the world is a part of God’s attempts at self-expression we must not abandon it if we would be true to our spiritual vocation.
And so the object is for us to become increasingly conscious, to increase continually in our realized being and awareness of our self and things and to express that becoming dynamically in such action in the world and in ourselves that both it and we shall grow increasingly towards the highest possible attainment – the largest possible breadth of universality and infinity of spirituality.
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