shamanic tree or stairway to heaven, All-Soul

Sensual Man and Spiritual Man

“Now in humanity the lower is not supreme; it is an accompaniment; but neither does the better rule unfailingly; the lower element also has a footing. Man, therefore, lives in part under sensation, for he has the organs of sensation, and in large part even by the merely vegetative principle, for the body grows and propagates. …
“This is why we must break away toward the High: we dare not keep ourselves set toward the sensuous principle, following the images of sense, or toward the merely vegetative, intent upon the gratification of eating and procreation; our life must be pointed toward the Intellective, toward the Intellectual-Principle, towards God.” ~Plotinus

Sensual Man

When Plotinus and other ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers talk about “sensual man”, they are not referring only to the extremes of those who have sex daily, often with strangers, those who will eat and eat until they pop, or those who collect piles and piles of money with no concern for those they deprive by doing so. They mean anyone who allows material pleasures to be the primary driving force of their lives. They mean the person who claims to be religious, but skips church if some more materialistic event is going on at the same time. They mean the person who claims to want to raise the level of his consciousness, but is doing nothing to make it happen. They mean the person who just drifts along with whatever is popular like a piece of driftwood. They mean those who have no spiritual goals in their lives and no plan or process for achieving those goals.

Spiritual Man

The spiritual man is not a ghost hunter or a fortune-teller. He is a person who places spiritual things higher in priority than the material. He does not give up his comfortable home and move into a cave but he doesn’t think of his home and other material possessions as something so important they need to be defended against others, even to the point of killing them. He doesn’t stop eating, but he eats primarily for nourishment rather than pleasure and rarely overeats. Most important of all, he seeks to develop his spiritual faculties and consciousness to the highest level possible (Plotinus mistakenly calls this “intellect”, but it isn’t. The spiritual is the soul and “consciousness” which is not intellect). He does his spiritual work, even if it occasionally means missing out on some material activity that he would like to indulge in.

In short, the truly spiritual man (or woman) doesn’t have to live in a monastery and sleep on a wooden platform. He can live in a house, wear nice clothes, eat regularly, and engage in social activities with friends and co-workers; but he always puts his spiritual growth above and material activities. He always seeks to climb higher and higher on the ladder of consciousness and spirituality, rather than just floating along where he currently is. And because of this, he can look forward to an afterlife that is denied to the materialist.

Visions, Reason, Knowledge and Spiritual sight

Behold the World with All Your Eyes

“Since the time of Adam, Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, has said to all men, and He says so still, inwardly according to his divinity: Behold. And this beholding is needful. … If a man will see bodily, and outwardly, he must have the outward light of heaven, or some other material light, to illuminate the medium. … The second thing is that he must permit the things which he wished to see to be reflected in his eyes. Ant the third thing is that the organs, the eyes, must be sound and flawless. …
“Of this sight, we will say nothing more; but we shall speak of a ghostly and supernatural sight, in which all our bliss abides. For all who wish to see in a ghostly and supernatural manner three things also are needful. The first is the light of Divine grace; the second is a free turning of the will to God, the third is a conscious clean from and mortal sin.” ~John of Ruysbroeck

A lot of great spiritual knowledge is found within that relatively brief quote. The terminology used several centuries ago may be confusing, especially to those who are new to spiritual studies, so lets break it down as much as we can.


First, Ruysbroeck tells us that Christ is “the Wisdom of the Father”. This is not the typical description we get of Christ. Most Christians thing of Christ and Jesus as the same thing, but Christ is an eternal spirit, while Jesus was a man in whom that eternal spirit lived for a time. Ruysbroeck brushes over this as an obvious thing, and moves on to tell us that Christ has told us to “Behold,” a simple, one-word command, yet an important one. It says open your eyes and look, see what is around you, see all of it, not just that limited portion that is part of your everyday life. When harvesting in your fields, don’t just see your crops and the cart you are putting them in, see the forest beyond, see the birds flying over, see the worms and bugs in the soil, and so on.

With All Eyes

But Ruysbroeck goes even beyond that and tells us we have another set of eyes to see with, another way to Behold. He calls this other vision “ghostly and supernatural”, neither of which is a very accurate or flattering way to describe it. In today’s language, we say these are spiritual “eyes” that give us spiritual vision.

Ruysbroeck says we open these eyes and make use of them through three things. First, what he calls “the light of Divine grace”. We would say that we see on a spiritual level using spiritual Light, and we awaken spiritual faculties using that spiritual light, which flows to us mainly through the spiritual sun. He then says we must turn to the Will of God. In other words, we must give up our own egotistical desires, and turn to helping achieve the Divine Plan of God, if we want to see that hidden world of spirit. Finally, he tells us to clean our consciousness of sin, but doesn’t define what he considers sin. Of course, in his time he had to be careful what he wrote or he might have been accused of blasphemy. The real “sins” we need to get out of our consciousness are those of false beliefs, limitations, and “knowledge” that is really more opinion than knowledge. Cleanse ourselves of false beliefs and concepts, and our spiritual eyes will see things that our ego thought were impossible.

Ruysbroeck says this second sight, this spiritual sight, is what brings us true bliss, and he is correct. When you are trapped in a word where you only see a small part of what is around you, like those living in Plato’s Cave, you seldom experience bliss, because everything that remains strange and unknown is frightening and often assumed to be dangerous. The real key to world peace and happiness is awakening those spiritual eyes of the soul and gaining the true Knowledge of All called Gnosis. Behold truth, behold Light.

sleeping soul, Afterlife

The Afterlife of Billy-Bob Materialist

X: But the scientific materialists assert that after the death of man nothing remains; that the human body simply disintegrates into its component elements, and that what we call soul is merely a temporary self-consciousness produced as a byproduct of organic action, which will evaporate like steam. Is not theirs a strange state of mind?

M: Not strange at all, that I see, If they say that self-consciousness ceases with the body, then in their case they simply utter an unconscious prophecy. For once that they are firmly convinced of what they assert, no conscious afterlife is possible for them.

X: But if human self-consciousness survives death as a rule, why should there be exceptions?

M: In the fundamental laws of the spiritual world which are immutable, no exception is possible. But there are rules for those who see, and rules for those who prefer to remain blind. … Having persistently denied an afterlife during this life he will be unable to sense it.” ~H. P. Blavatsky

The Afterlife and the Soul

There are people who say that they don’t believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, they will be happy to enjoy it when it happens. As Blavatsky says, that is simply not going to happen. There are others who insist there absolutely is not an afterlife (how they know this, they never explain) and they are correct: for them, it doe’s not exist. Continue reading “The Afterlife of Billy-Bob Materialist”

poor woman harvesting

Caring for the Poor and Downtrodden

Scholar: How then will those subsist in the day of the last judgment, who afflict and vex the poor and distressed, and deprive them of their very sweat, necessitating and constraining them by force to submit to their wills, and trample upon them as their footstools? …
Master: Christ suffereth in the persecution of His members. Therefore all the wrong that such hard executors do to the poor wretches under their control is done to Christ Himself; and falleth under His severe sentence and judgment. And besides that by such oppression of the poor the draw them off from Christ and make them seek unlawful ways to fill their bellies. Nay, they work for and with the Devil himself, doing the very same thing which he doth.” ~Jacob Boehme

The Plight of the Poor and Middle Class

The scholar is smart in asking what punishment awaits those who mistreat, steal from, and suppress the rights of poor people. Today, perhaps even more than when Boehme wrote this, we have an institutionalized enslavement of the masses, not just those considered poor. We see people making millions of dollars a year for playing sports, singing, or acting in movies, but people who work hard every day digging ditches, paving roads, putting roofing on houses, and so on, get paid very little. Yet we have people who have the audacity to say that the poor are simply lazy, which implies that the zillionaire CEO of the corporations actually work 500 times as hard as that low-level employee getting paid very little. Yet the employees can do little about it or they will lose their jobs and get even less. We promote work as a virtue—which indeed it is—but ignore the idea that a worker should be paid a fair percentage of what he is earning for the company he works for and not have most of it going to the top. Continue reading “Caring for the Poor and Downtrodden”