“The whole world, limited as it is by its own inner principles, is called both the place and age of those dwelling in it. There are modes of contemplation natural to it which are able to engender in created beings a partial understanding of the wisdom of God that governs all things. As long as they make use of these nodes to gain understanding, they cannot have more than a mediate and partial apprehension. But when what is perfect appears, what is partial is superseded: all mirrors and indistinct images pass away when truth is encountered face to face. When he who is saved is perfected in God, he will transcend all worlds, ages, and places n which hitherto he has been trained as a child.” ~The Philokalia
People generally don’t think of the universe of matter as something limited, yet it is. The more we learn about it, the more we discover how chaotic and destructive it is. It has to constantly be creating because the defective creations of matter have a built-in self-destruction capability. This is a limitation. This makes it a limited world.
Modes of Contemplation
In order for contemplation (or spiritual techniques) to work, they have to operate in accord with the laws of the realm you are in. So here in the limited world of matter, material aids are often necessary. Things like music,crystals and incense.
But it isn’t just the world of matter that we are in. Different methods work better in different parts of the world. In recent decades many in the Western world have been adopting the spiritual growth techniques of the East. Mostly those of India. But what works best in India doesn’t work as well in Chicago or London. And what works best in Chicago or London would not be suitable for India. Spiritual masters understand this and teach appropriately. Those who work without a spiritual teacher or master will rarely do as well as those who do. While many argue that there are many paths that will lead to a spiritual awakening, it makes sense to take the shortest and easiest path available to you. Not that any path is easy or instantaneous, but some are easier than others.
Wisdom of God
Gaining the Wisdom and knowledge of God is a large part of what spiritual development is all about. But as the quote mentions, until we are perfect our access to the truth is imperfect. Partially, that is because our soul knows more than it can communicate to our mind because the mind is limited to understanding the material realm.
Becoming perfect is something that is rarely, if ever, achieved while still in the physical realm. The limited world of matter prevents it. Fortunate, our spiritual education doesn’t end with the death of the physical body. Even in spirit form we continue to climb through the dimensions and levels of consciousness. Spirits do not sit on clouds playing harps. They work hard at continued advancement for themselves. They also work hard at helping those still trapped in matter to advance. Eventually they will reach perfection. It may take many centuries, though. Fortunately, beyond the physical level, time has no significance. Spirits are forever, so devoting ten thousand or fifty thousand years to spiritual growth doesn’t bother them.