“During the process of the soul’s purification and advancement, it loses sight not only of itself, but of all things else; except God; and even of the distinct apprehension of our Lord, in His humanity. That is, there are no longer distinct, bounded views and perceptions of Christ, the soul becoming identical with Christ. This is necessary in order to draw the soul into oneness with God. Let all go in the divine order. When the soul has returned to its end and origin, and is lost in God, it finds all it lost, without going out from God.
“When the soul is yet in itself, it draws all things to itself and sees God and all creatures in itself. But when the soul is in oneness with God, it carries all creatures with it in God, and sees nothing separate from God. Seeing all in God, it sees all things in the true light, as with the eye of God. This is what David calls, ‘Seeing light in thy light.’” ~Madam Guyon
In a sense, there is no advancement or purification needed by the soul. It is just a matter of awakening and developing it. The soul, being unlimited by time and space, already knows all truth. But it forgets it, in a sense. So the first step of soul advancement, or spiritual development, is to awaken the soul from its slumber. Then gradually, reintroduce it to the truth it always knew but doesn’t remember. It is a matter of making the unconscious soul into a fully conscious one.
Lose Sight of Itself
I think what Madam Guyon is saying here is that the soul that is not fully awakened tends to be self-centered, much like the ego of the brain-mind. It looks at everything in relation to itself. It is the center of the universe, and everything else is circling around it. I’m not sure the soul ever really thinks that way, but it is reasonable to look at it that way.
It “loses sight of itself,” when it starts thinking more in terms of itself being part of the All, being one with the All, and not as something separate from other things, other beings. It is like St. Francis calling all creatures, all beings, his brothers and sisters. He was one with them, they were one with him.
Identical With Christ
When Guyon says that the awakened soul reaches a state of soul advancement in which it becomes identical with Christ, she doesn’t mean that it becomes one with the man Jesus. Yes, Jesus was Christ, but Christ does not mean the same thing as Jesus. Jesus awakened his Christ Consciousness. Guyon is saying that we must do the same as part of that soul advancement process. Christ consciousness is the highest level of consciousness. At that level, we know all truth, all wisdom, all reality. But most of us are at a level of consciousness far below that. Even after awakening the soul, we are levels below Christ Consciousness. But the soul development process moves us higher and higher up the pyramid of consciousness like climbing the stairs on that allegorical stairway to heaven.
While in the past, very few people have ever reached that higher level of consciousness, that doesn’t mean it has to be that way now or in the future. Things are different now. We are fortunate enough to be living in the age of the Sun of Righteousness. That spiritual sun sends more light, and higher frequencies of light, to us to help us awaken and grow. Soul advancement is easier with that sun but still requires us to make the effort to advance. Those who think they can achieve Christ Consciousness just by meditating on it make as much sense as one who thinks he can become a doctor just by buying a stethoscope and meditating on that.
Let All Go
Soul advancement does require us to “let all go”. Meaning two things. First, we have to let go of all attachments to material things. That doesn’t mean we can’t have material things. We simply have to avoid getting attached to them. And we have to have the courage to get rid of them when we find we have developed an attachment. Second, when doing spiritual practices, we have to let go of extraneous thoughts. Those thoughts distract the mind and limit the effectiveness of spiritual techniques. We have to mentally let go and surrender to God and Divine Order. Only then can we penetrate all the way to the center of it. Only then can we become part of the All.
Finds All it Lost
Some people fear that developing oneness with God will mean losing their own identity. Some gurus have even encouraged such thinking by comparing the soul joining with God with a drop of water falling into the ocean. But we have been given a sense of individuality because it is a good thing to have. We gain much when we become one with the all. But if we do it right, we do not lose our individuality in the process. Our individual self may be less important to us, but it still exists. A rock that becomes part of a great wall is still an individual rock.
So soul advancement lets the soul achieve higher and higher states of consciousness, but without losing self. The soul remembers what it was before it fell to earth. That is finding what it lost.