In considering spiritually inspired projects we need to know something about spirituality. This is not a simple matter as the theme has been described in many different ways, depending upon the time and place in which it was formulated. Nonetheless there appears to be a teaching that underlines all religions. This is not a universally accepted idea, but one that I find helpful. This teaching has many names including the Ageless Wisdom and the Perennial Philosophy - we will call it the Wisdom in this article.
The teaching of the Wisdom is found in many places, including Anthroposophy the Hindu religion, Sufism, early Christianity, Mysticism and other spiritual paths. It is perhaps most clearly defined in Theosophy, Gnosticism and Hermetica - the understanding of these paths lies behind our concept of the Wisdom.
Below we give a simple outline of the tenets of the Wisdom
Throughout the paper we present the information as an established fact in order to avoid repeatedly saying ‘the concept is …’. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not they accept the statements. As the Buddha said –
‘Only accept my statements if they feel to be right in your heart
Each of these paragraphs can be expanded into a book and a variety of titles can be found on the web. It is up to the individual to research the subject that intuitively feels most relevant to them.
The ‘All’- There is one Unified Cosmos containing everything that is spiritual and everything that is material. This Whole is all love, knowledge, truth, beauty, unity, harmony and compassion. The entire universe is a part of this one Whole, which is held together by the dynamic of Love. This All is a Mind that is pure Spirit and is unknowable, Indefinable and Incomprehensible to the material human mind - and is only partially understandable through the material forms in which it appears.
All is Consciousness- The Mind of the All is in every aspect of the material universe and a form of consciousness is found everywhere. There is a form of consciousness in the smallest sub-particle of an atom, and in the molecules, elements and cells that form every structure and being. The material world is linked through this sea of consciousness and every action taken by an individual component affects the whole universe.
This idea is the essence of the Wisdom.
All is in the All– The All is in All
The All contains every aspect of the spiritual and material universe – but also each entity within the universe has a spark of the All within it The All revels in diversity as it creates new forms and levels of consciousness.
Creation- The Mind first manifests by producing a sea of shimmering energy that fills the entire universe. This energy is the potential from which all is materialized. An idea imposed by the Mind upon this universal energy produces the material world that we see around us.
Energy - Different spiritual and material entities vibrate at different ‘frequencies’, some of which are not detectable by our senses. An analogy is the already known spectrum of electro magnetic energy, from visible light to radio waves. Maybe one-day instruments will be developed, able to record the spiritual energies in this spectrum that are at present undetectable.
Unity in Diversity- From the idea of a universal conscious intelligence flows the concept of Unity in Diversity. In any one organism, there is the Diversity of the individual components but a Unity in the whole. The whole has an awareness of its individual components - the individual components have an understanding of their sub-component, but may not necessarily understand the greater whole of which they are a part.
Planes of Being- The word Planes is used to describe different frequencies of spiritual energy. The words ‘above’ and ‘below' are often used and imply the physical separation of items that in reality occupy the same space but at different energy levels. The spiritual world could be thought of as a different universe interpenetrating the physical world.These levels are found in the incarnate human and the Wisdom teaches that man is made up of 10 planes of being. This is not the place to go into this complexity and a simplified version is to look at this as three main planes:
Spirit- the level of pure spirit - the ground of all being – undetectable by material means
Soul – with two aspects
Higher Mind– the part of the soul in touch with pure spirit. This Higher Mind can be contacted through meditation and intuition - but is not accessible through everyday intellectual thought
Lower Mind - thepart of the soul in touch with the material world and involved with the day-to-day aspects of material living
Material - the level at which are found all physical objects
Correspondence- One of the most widely used principles of the Wisdom is:
‘As below, so above; as above, so below’
There is a direct correspondence between what is found in the Macrocosm - the universe and the Solar System - and the microcosm – the human body and infinitely small. In every aspect of the spiritual and material universe is found a reflection of this principle. An understanding how these principles are found in man may be applied to other objects in the universe,
Spiritual purpose- an individual spark of the Divine All is created as a human soul and sent down through all the planes of ‘Being’ in order to incarnate as a human in the material world. This is the process of Involution.This soul then starts the steady progress of Evolution-moving up through plane after plane of being, at each level leaving behind the inappropriate emotional, intellectual and physical qualities, and eventually reaching oneness with the All.
Reincarnation- the process of evolution cannot be achieved in a single material life - time is needed for the process - the individual soul moves through many lives, in many different personalities, until the ultimate oneness is achieved.
Worldly purpose - in each life, the incarnating soul has a threefold purpose:
- To learn and grow in awareness
- To use the experience brought through, and gained in this life, in service
- To enjoy the life
Practice - A central belief of the Wisdom is that, in order to make progress in developing higher levels of consciousness, it is necessary to refine the ways in which we live our everyday lives and to develop a regular spiritual practice. This practice can take many forms, including yoga, martial arts, chanting, dancing and prayer. The most universally recommended is that of meditation.
Contact with the Wisdom - By developing certain practices, including meditation, it is possible to access beings at higher levels of consciousness – this in turn enables access to the sea of cosmic Wisdom.
Polarity - Everything has poles, and everything has its pair of opposites. Think of light and dark, good and evil, happy and miserable, depressed and exhilarated. These opposites are identical in concept – simply a spectrum stretching between two opposing poles. Understanding that there are always two poles, always two extremes, and that there is a place of balance in the middle, is the secret of looking at all human situations whether they be political, social or personal - and living a balanced, calm and peaceful life.
Hierarchies of Beings- Everywhere there is consciousness and everywhere there is life, for there is no empty space or inanimate matter anywhere in the universe. A gulf exists between the consciousness of the Divine All and the awareness of a human being. By necessity, a gradation of consciousness is needed between the one indescribable Divine and the ordinary human. This infinite ladder of consciousness – of different awareness and complexity - is occupied by intelligent entities from the most mundane to the most supreme. Certain advanced souls have developed to the point where they are able to act as intermediaries between the Divine All and individual incarnate souls. These spirits are recognised in many forms including the initiators of religions such as Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed – and other avatars, saints, masters and guides. This range of beings at different stages of consciousness enables the incarnate human to find a guide at the level of awareness to which he can
Vibration - Everything is in permanent motion and vibration. Nothing is still for a moment. Although All is Mind and consciousness, the different manifestations of matter, energy, mind and spirit arise from varying rates of vibration. The highest rate of vibration is the Universal Mind and the lowest is the coarsest material solid.
Rhythm - Everything material flows and has its tides. All things rise and fall. The only constant is a state of change following a rhythm of ebb and flow. This movement is seen in the tides of the ocean, the seasons, the breath and the cycle of birth, maturity and death. An understanding of this ‘Breathing of Energy’ is helpful when understanding facets of the material world such as periods of economic growth and recession.
Cause and Effect - Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause. According to this principle, there is no such thing as Chance or Luck – everything is a direct result of something that happened earlier.
This concept is the essence of the principle of Karma
In each life, the spirit grows in consciousness and awareness and carries out both positive and negative actions. Positive actions help the spirit to grow towards its ultimate objective. Negative actions have to be compensated for by being returned to the initiator to give an opportunity for understanding and healing of the harm done,
Duality - Everywhere in the material world we see duality. Masculine and feminine, positive nucleus and negative electrons, anode and cathode, Yin and Yang. Duality is manifest in everything and these two principles are ever at work in all acts of creation, physical, mental or spiritual – in all actions of generation, regeneration and creation. The positive principle corresponds to material outgoing conscience mind and the active will – ‘God the father’. The negative principle corresponds to receptive, unconscious, nurturing and actively creative – ‘mother Nature’. As in the Yin Yang diagram, each principle contains a spark of the other - the two halves together complete Wholeness
Suggestions for further research
The Kybalion– by Three Initiates – Out line of Hermetic teaching
Deity Cosmos and Man– by Geoffrey A Farthing – Outline Theosophical teaching
Theosophy– by Rudolf Steiner – Outline of Anthroposophy
Science and the Akashic Field–Ervin Laszlo
Theosophical Society - http://www.theosophicalsociety.org.uk
Theosophical Glossary - http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/etgloss/etg-hp.htm
Hermetica - http://www.occult-mysteries.org/evolution.html
Gnosis - http://gnosis.org/gnintro.htm