cave bound, Materialism ends at the Dawn

Materialism to Spirituality, Darkness to Light

“Our age, we say, is inferior in Wisdom to any other, because it professes, more visibly every day, contempt for truth and justice, without which there can be no wisdom. … Because this century of culture and worship of matter, while offering prizes and premiums for every ‘best thing’ under the sun, from the biggest baby and the largest orchid down to the strongest pugilist and the fattest pig, has no encouragement to offer to morality; no prize to give for any moral virtue. … Because it encourages . Legally and tacitly, vice under every form, … because this is the age which, although proclaimed as one physical and moral freedom, is in truth the age of the most ferocious moral and mental slavery. … Slavery to state and men has disappeared only to make room for slavery to things and self.” ~H. P. Blavatsky

Our Age of Materialism

I think Blavatsky may have been stating the opinions of others when she wrote the passage I quoted from. (By the way, you might notice that I use the ellipsis (…) a lot in the passages I quote. This is not to change the meaning, but to shorten the quote. I don’t want to start a post with a five-hundred-word quote so I cut out some parts without changing the meaning..) Whether her opinion, or the opinion of others, what she says here is much more so today than when she wrote this a century ago. We actually have one of the most materialistic persons in the world as a candidate for president of the United States, and many plan to vote for him! We see tabloid headlines that say things like “Heaved discovered in a photo of the Andromeda Galaxy”. Of course it is nonsense, but not just because tabloids make up this stuff, but also because Heaven is a spiritual realm (the highest, to be specific) and therefore can never be photographed by a satellite, no matter how powerful.

It is also true that governments, corporations, and other organizations encourage materialism with such things as the largest pumpkin contest, and a contest to see who can scarf down the most hot dogs. Even when we award things like the Nobel Peace Prize or the CNN Hero of the Year, it is always for accomplishment on the level of matter. Have you ever even seen a priest or spiritual teacher being considered for such awards? There is, of course, nothing wrong with feeding hungry people, but here is if we are feeding the body while ignoring completely the spirit and soul.

The Other Side

The good news is that there is another side to this coin. In this world of duality, while the forces of materialism have become quite powerful, and seem to many to be completely in charge, spiritual forces, mostly working behind the scenes, are making inroads. Just as the coldest part of night comes just before dawn, the “coldest” part of the age of materialism is coming just at the dawning of a new spiritual age, a new Golden Age. Just as the Dark Ages preceded the Renaissance. The dark age of materialism that has gotten progressively worse over the last several centuries is now being pushed aside by the dawning of the New Golden Age of spirituality, wisdom, and Light. You can help make it happen by not waiting too long to start developing your spiritual faculties and helping others do the same. The Light of the Sun of Righteousness now shines down upon us. Don’t let that great ship sail without you.

movement in waves

Movement and Cycles in Nature

“Night follows day; and day night. The pendulum swings from Summer to Winter, and then back again. The corpuscles, atoms, molecules, and all masses of matter, swing around the circles of their nature. There is no such thing as absolute rest, or cessation from movement, and all movement partakes of rhythm. … The Universal Pendulum is ever in motion. The tides of life flow in and out according to law. … The Principle of Rhythm is well understood by modern science, and is considered a universal law as applied to material things. … But the Hermetists by studying the operations of this principle have learned to escape some of its activities by Transmutation.
“The Hermetic Masters … discovered that there were two general planes of Consciousness, the Lower and the Higher, the understanding of which has fact enables them to rise to the higher plane and thus escapes the swing of the rhythmic pendulum which manifested on the lower plane.”
~The Three Initiates

Rhythms, Cycles, Movement

Rhythms, cycles, swings of the pendulum. Whatever you call it, the principle is real. “For everything there is a season,” is the way this principle is stated in the Bible. I have gone into detain on this subject before so I won’t do it again. The point her is that this means that everything is constantly in motion. The tides go in and out, the wind blows east, then north, then west, and so on. We walk, we run, we sit, we stand. Those movements are obvious, but there are subtle movements happening on the physical plane that we are not aware of. Over its life span, a tree may move several inches from where it was originally located. And this is not just due to the land shifting, although that is another example to a subtle move that generally goes unnoticed. A spiritual adept may notice these subtle movements more than others, but we all can if we simply pay attention to what is going on around us. Continue reading “Movement and Cycles in Nature”

Trinity of Light

Trinity of Fire, Light, and Spirit

“It is this eternal unbeginning Trinity in Unity of Fire, Light, and Spirit that constitutes eternal nature. … Perhaps an easier, better, more beautiful example of these abstract symbols of the Trinity than Law’s Fire, Light and Spirit is that of light, Life, and Love: a threefold picture of the real which is constantly dwelt upon. …
“LIGHT, ineffable and uncreated, the perfect symbol of undifferentiated Being: above the intellect. …
“LIFE, the Son, hidden steersman of the universe, the Logos, Fire, or cosmic Soul of things. This out-birth or Concept of the Father’s Mind, which He possesses within Himself. …
“LOVE, the principle of attraction, which seems to partake at once of the trancendental and the created worlds. ‘The best masters say,’ says Eckhart, ‘that the love wherewith we love is the Holy Spirit.’
“’God wills,’ says Ruysbroeck, gathering these scattered symbols to unity again, ‘that we should come forth from ourselves in this Eternal Light;…’” ~Evelyn Underhill

Fire, Light, Spirit

While I find much of what she says worth reading, and quoting from, it must be noted that Ms. Underhill, while a student of mysticism, always remained a Catholic, and shows a marked preference for Christian mystics and spiritual teachers. It is not surprising, therefore, that she quotes almost exclusively from Christian mystics, mostly Catholic ones. That doesn’t make them any less significant, though, since mystics are really non-denominational and you can find mystics, saints and prophets of all religions and spiritual schools saying much the same thing.

It should not be a surprise to anyone that fire was used as a symbol of God. In the Christian world, that would mean God the Father. The most primitive people looked upon fire as a miraculous thing that could be very destructive, but also helpful. The most common reason for associating God with fire, however, was that God was associated with the sun, and the sun was thought of as a big ball of fire. The true mystics knew that God was found in the spiritual sun, not the physical, but the average person didn’t get that.

Light also comes from the sun, but once again, when talking about God we are talking about spiritual Light, not the ordinary physical light of a fire or a lamp. This Light is not even visible to the physical eyes, though it can affect them, and the pineal gland, in beneficial ways.

Spirit is the most difficult of the three to explain. In its widest interpretation, it means anything that is non-physical, anything that was part of reality before time and space were brought into existence by the Great Fall. It is also that aspect of God which reaches out to us, tries to awaken our spirits and souls, and redeem us. It is that part which most closely relates to the idea of a Holy Spirit as part of the Great Trinity.

Light, Life, Love

This version of the Trinity may not seem accurate unless you read the definitions shown in the quote (the actual definitions in the book run several pages. I have used only a small part above.)

The Quantum scientists of today tell us the physical world is nothing more than a very large and detailed hologram: an image made of light. If the physical world is just a great weaving done in physical light, than it seems reasonable to say that the spiritual realms from which it was generated is a hologram of spiritual Light. But the light of the hologram must have a source, a point of origin, and for the Spiritual Light that source is God. God is the Great Light, the One Light, the Light that is The All.

Since spiritual life comes from that spiritual Light, and physical life is degenerated spiritual life, it is also sensible to equate Christ, the creative power of God, with Life. Some of you might be astute enough to ask, “But what about all the created things that are not living?” The answer is they don’t exist. Everything is alive, even if on a level so sluggish that science cannot recognize it as life. Remember that science is still not certain what life is or where it comes from, so don’t take their word for it when they say something is non-living. Even the atoms are alive.

Love relates quite well to the Holy Spirit. Love is a reaching out to others, by us, by God, by all. It is, on some level, a recognition of relationship, of oneness. There is no better way to express our oneness with others than through love, and when God does that, we call that reaching out the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity

Regardless of what terms you use, the idea of the trinity is an important one. One of the oldest versions has it as Father, Mother, and Child, and that may be the best way to put it. The idea is when two opposite forces are brought together, something new is created. So Father and Mother creates the Child, hot air and cold air creates wind, etc. God has many lesser aspects, but those three are the most significant.

So what does all that have to do with our personal spiritual growth? It’s simple. We grow by taking in the spiritual Light. We grow by uniting. We grow by being creative, and we create by bringing together all things into One.

Loving God, Love All

Love and Creation vs Hate and Destruction

“The love of man must gradually widen to a love for all living creatures, yes, for all existence. Through failure to fulfill the condition here given, the student will lack the perfect love for everything that fashions and creates, and the inclination to refrain from all destruction as such. He must so train himself that not only in his actions but also in his words, feelings, and thoughts he will never destroy anything for the sake of destruction. His joy must be in growth and Life, and he must only lend his hand to destruction when he is also able, through and by means of destruction, to promote new life. This does not mean that the student must simply look on while evil runs riot, but rather that he must seek even in evil that side through which he may transform it into good.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Love All

Mr. Steiner is correct in saying that the spiritual student must move beyond love of other humans, to love of animals, plants, all of existence. This seems contrary to what many think. We have been told to love only the good guys and to hate the bad guys. The problems with that philosophy are many, but the most basic one is this: everyone things those who agree with her are the good guys, and those who disagree are the bad guys. The result of such a philosophy is the opposite of becoming a united whole, which is a primary goal of spiritual development.

You have to learn, for starters, to separate the person from the deed or the beliefs. You can hate the philosophy of hate, but not those who have been tricked into believing it. You can hate violence, but not those who, through trickery, mental illness, etc., have been engaging in violence.

The same is true for plants and animals. We may hate the fact that a child was killed by an alligator, but that does not mean we should hate the gator. By learning to love the gator, we are better able to understand it and deal with it rationally instead of attacking it with irrational anger. We may hate getting poison ivy (and believe me, I do), but we should not hate the plant for having a strong natural defense. Think about it. If a plant died after touching you would you blame yourself? I don’t think so.

The great botanist, Luther Burbank, is reputed to have developed thornless cactus by talking to the plants, sending them love, and telling them that didn’t need to fear. I don’t know if that story is true, but either way, it is true that Burbank turned many harmful plants into beneficial ones by showing them love and understanding. So love all of creation.

Creation and Destruction

Mr. Steiner advises us that as spiritual students, and as lovers of all creation, we must refrain from all destruction. This is a difficult thing that requires thought and subtlety. If every time you drive your car down an old dirt road you kill ants that have made hills in the road, are you guilty of destruction? I would say no. It is intentional destruction that Steiner is primarily talking about. There is a great difference between accidentally running over an animal crossing a street, and intentionally trying to hit it.

Steiner also points out that sometimes destruction is necessary in order to bring about new life, for example, pulling weeds in the vegetable garden. Here some good sense is needed also. One could claim that by killing a wolf they are protecting their children. That is true only if the wolf is actually after your children, and an advance spiritual student like St. Francis of Assisi could harmlessly turn the wolf away. And when we cut down thousands of acres of forest to make grazing fields for cattle, are we really benefiting anybody long term? The answer is no, so even though we destroyed the forest to save the cattle, the cattle are not more important than the forest.

angels fighting demons

False concept of angels fighting demons

It is unfortunate that the war between Light and Dark, Angels and Demons, is often depicted by well-meaning but misguided artists as a literal battle with swords or other weapons. Nothing could be further from the truth. As was clearly illustrated in the Star Wars movies, to kill the bad guy (Luke vs Darth) would make you no better than him. The angels don’t defeat the demons and devils by killing them, but by loving them. In doing so, they will eventually get those demons to change their ways and return to the fold. This is how we should all behave.

So how do we develop such love and creativity and end our destruction and hatred? We do it by developing our spiritual faculties. Only the spirit and soul can truly recognize and practice this philosophy. Only the soul can love all.