The Soul Watches

“The Soul watches the ceaselessly changing universe and follows all the fate of all its works: this is its life, and it knows no respite from this care, but is ever laboring to bring about perfection, planning to lead all to an unending state of excellence—like a farmer, first sowing and planting and then constantly setting to rights where rainstorms and long frosts and high gales have played havoc.
“If such a conception of Soul be rejected as untenable, we are obliged to think that the Reason-Principles themselves foreknew or even contained the ruin and all the consequences of flaw. … And here it will be objected that in the All there is nothing contrary to nature, nothing evil.” ~Plotinus

I have to admit that I have never thought of the Soul as a watcher, ceaselessly watching what is going on and seeking to make things better. It does make sense that if you want to travel to another place, you must be aware of where you currently are, what path exists from this place to the place you want to be, and what obstructions you may face along the route. To do that, one must look around and be aware of what is happening in the world around him. We can only hope that the Soul constantly does this even when we have chosen to figuratively hide under the bed by sinking ourselves into fantasy games, fantasy movies, fantasy books and anything else superfluous that can entertain and keep us from dealing with reality (and the two weeks previous to my writing this have been full of the type of reality we tend to hide from because we don’t want it to be real.) It is also not clear from what Plotinus says if the Soul only does this watching after it has been awakened, or still does it while in the unawakened, coma-like state in which we find it when we are born on the material level in a body of matter. My guess is, it is only aware of the spiritual and can only become aware of what is happening in the fallen world of matter after it is awakened on this level. Continue reading “The Soul Watches”

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Eternal self, Twice Born, Brighter Existence influence on the world

Cosmic Evolution

“But remember this, that all of this Evolutionary Process is but a returning Home. It is the Ascent after the Descent. It is not a creation but an unfoldment. The Descent was made by principles as principles—the Ascent is being made by Individualized Centers evolved from the principles. Matter manifests finer and finer forms, and exhibits a greater and greater subservience to Energy or Force, and Energy or Force shows a greater and greater degree of ‘mind’ in it. But remember this, that there is mind in even the grossest form of Matter. This must be so, for what springs from a thing must contain the elements of its cause.
“And the Cosmic Evolution continues, and must continue for aeons of time. Higher and higher forms of Mind are being manifested, and still higher and higher forms will appear in the scale, as the process continues. The evolution is not only along material lines, but has passed on to the mental planes, and is now operating along the spiritual lines as well.” ~William Walker Atkinson

While I don’t agree with much of what Atkinson writes (he is of the school that believes the material universe had to be created by God, not the Demiurge as us Gnostics believe), I do find some truth in his writing, and the quote above is one area that is essentially true.

First, he says that evolution is a returning home, and that is very true, but what does that mean? It means that, since we originated in spirit, a returning home is a movement toward the spiritual and away from the material. Atkinson seems to believe, however, that we are long past the stage of devolution, and are all, collectively, now evolving. That is another area where we disagree with him. Think of in in this way: even in a child that is still growing, there are cells that are getting old and dying. Likewise, in a world that is starting to truly evolve, there are still many people who are devolving in the sense of sinking further and further into the muck of materialism. The fact the Donald Trump, the champion of the “do anything for profit” philosophy, is on the top of the polls for Republican presidential candidates, is proof of that (I hope someone reading this in 2017 or 2018 will laugh their heads off at the idea.) The point, however, is that despite the seeming descent of some into total materialism and stupidity to the level of imbecility, there are others, albeit a smaller and less verbal group, that are seeking and following a higher path, a path to spiritual awakening and spiritual growth: the path Home. Continue reading “Cosmic Evolution”

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shamanic tree or stairway to heaven, All-Soul

Heaven Bound

“’Today I must take my place at the right hand of my father. I have spoken my last word to you; I shall depart from you, for a chariot of spirit has carried me up, and from now on I shall strip that I may be clothed. …
‘Blessings three times over on those who were proclaimed by the son before they came into being, so that you might share with them.’
“When he said this, he left. We knelt down, Peter and I, and gave thanks and sent our hearts up to heaven. We heard with our ears and saw with our eyes the noise of wars, a trumpet blast, and great turmoil.
“When we passed beyond that place, we sent our minds up further. We saw with our eyes and heard with our ears hymns, angelic praises and angelic rejoicing. Heavenly majesties were singing hymns, and we rejoiced too. Again, after this, we wished to send our spirits up to the majesty.” ~The Secret Book of James

The quote within the quote is supposed to be the words of Jesus to his apostles, specifically Peter and James who he left in charge of his church when he left. If one interprets this literally, as some Christians are prone to do, it becomes nonsense. But when considered as allegory and symbolism, it makes good sense.

Jesus tells the apostles that he will be leaving them soon because a “chariot of spirit has carried him up.” You would expect Him to say a chariot of spirit will carry Him up, but He said “has”. That is not a mistake. What Jesus is saying is that the chariot of spirit has already carried Him up out of the grave. In other words, His spirit has risen, not His physical body, and it is that spirit which will go to Heaven for Jesus had previously said that flesh shall not inherit the kingdom. Continue reading “Heaven Bound”

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destiny

Spiritual Development Isn’t Easy

“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain. Those who are devout and whose intellect enjoys the love of God participate in this life of virtue; the ordinary intellect, however, is worldly and vacillating, producing both good and evil thoughts, because it is changeful by nature and directed towards material things. But the intellect that enjoys the love of God punishes the evil which arises spontaneously because of man’s indolence.” ~The Philokalia

I would say spiritual rather than virtuous since virtuous simply means living a moral and ethical life. It is possible, at least in theory, to live a moral and ethical life without being the least bit spiritual. The Philokalia, being written by priests and monks for the instruction of new priests and monks, is obviously intended to teach something more than simple business ethics or social morality. So let us think of this quote as referring to spirituality and spiritual development.

So the writer of this section of The Philokalia is telling us that a spiritual life is possible, but it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to achieve, and it isn’t easy to keep once we have it. It’s somewhat like the person who diets and loses the excess weight, then returns to old eating habits and quickly gains it all back. So you can’t thing of spiritual growth and enlightenment as something similar to playing the lottery faithfully every week until one day you win the big jackpot and the quest is over. Spiritual growth takes place slowly, over a period of years, and at any time, one can fall back, if not careful. It’s much like Sisyphus pushing that rock up a hill, except that some do manage to push that rock to the top of that mountain of enlightenment. Continue reading “Spiritual Development Isn’t Easy”

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