flesh and spirit

Flesh and Spirit, Body and Soul, Journey Together

Flesh and Spirit Journey Together

“Stars faded and lit up again at the very moment when someone’s invisible hand decisively drove away the cloud which was attempting to hide the vault of heaven with an impenetrable veil. And in the silvery stellar light illuming a mountain trail, there appeared a steed — persistently pushing forward, despite the fatigue attempting to fetter his flesh. It was as though he knew his goal and was sparing no effort in trying to reach it. …

“The four-footed pilgrim was striding confidently, despite the fact that he had not climbed mountain trails before. But that was not important, because he fully trusted his rider, knowing that he had only to stumble slightly and the horseman would immediately come out of his dormant state and pull on the reins in the blink of an eye to adjust the steed’s pace and direction. Horse and rider seemed to merge with each other into a single whole. Thus, it was possible to afford rest to the man aloft, who, after gaining strength during his four-footed friend’s repose, would help free the latter from fatigue. …

“Thus, the flesh and the spirit often stride through life merged together. For the one without the other does not have the significance that is inherent in their union. The body without the spirit is dead.” ~ Parables from Shambhala by Zinovia Dushkova

The Horse

If you didn’t get it from reading the quote, the horse in the story is not a horse at all but a human’s gross body of matter. Dushkova equates it with a horse as being a way for the spirit and soul to move around. While in a sense, it is true that the body can serve that purpose, it makes it sound like the soul is helpless and cannot move without the body, so they need each other. This is not exactly true. The soul can function quite well on its own, thank you, but only on the spiritual level. It can’t really do much on the physical level. So the body is needed on the physical level but is eventually left behind. The belief that Jesus will one day appear and carry us off to Heaven while still in our physical bodies is wrong. Jesus said that flesh does not inherit the kingdom, so the physical body is our horse on this level of reality only. While here, flesh and spirit journey together in order for both to function at their best. Once we enter the spiritual realms, there is no need for—or place for—the physical body.

In the parable quoted above, the horse does not fear climbing the high mountain because it fully trusts the rider. It would be great if that were the case, but it is rarely so. Continue reading “Flesh and Spirit, Body and Soul, Journey Together”

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harmony of body and soul

Harmony of Body and Soul

“He who through virtue and spiritual knowledge has brought his body into harmony with his soul has become a harp, a flute and a temple of God. He has become a harp by preserving the harmony of the virtues, a flute by receiving the inspiration of the spirit through through divine contemplation, and a temple by becoming a dwelling place of the logos through the purity of his intellect. …

“Not only is the divine Logos prior to the genesis of created beings, but there never was nor will be a principle superior to the Logos. The Logos is not without intellect or bereft of life; He possesses intellect and life because the Father is the essentially subsistent intellect that begets Him, and the Holy Spirit is His essentially subsistent and consistent life. …

“There is one God, because the Father is the begetter of the unique Son and the fount of the Holy Spirit: one without confusion and three without division. The Father is unoriginate intellect, the unique essential begetter of the unique Logos, also unoriginate, and the fount of the unique everlasting life.” ~The Philokalia

Harmony of Body and Soul

It is not only possible to bring the body and soul into harmony, but it is also essential for true eternal life. Actually, it should say body, mind, and soul because the mind is not part of the body, nor is it the soul. And bringing them into harmony means more than just having them function as different instruments in an orchestra playing the same song, but rather being totally united into a single unit, an oneness of three parts, much like God.

The first step in doing that is awakening the spirit and soul which are in a dormant state when we enter the material world and stay that way throughout life for most of us. Awakening them takes desire, effort, and energy. The best source of that energy, which must be spiritual in nature, is the Spiritual Sun. But we need a positive attitude and a desire to grow and help others grow or that energy will have little effect. In other words, the energy has to be directed in order to do the work. Continue reading “Harmony of Body and Soul”

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hierarchy of being

Hierarchy of Being, Simple and Complex

“That which engenders the world of sense cannot itself be a sense world, it must be the Intellect and the Intellectual world; similarly, the prior which engenders the Intellectual Principle and the Intellectual world cannot be either, but must be something of lesser multiplicity. The manifold does not rise from the manifold: the intellectual multiplicity has its source in what is not manifold; by the mere fact of being manifold, the thing is not the first principle: we must look to something earlier.

“All must be grouped under a unity which, as standing outside of all multiplicity and outside of any ordinary simplicity, is the veritable and essential simplex.

“Still, how can a Reason Principle (the Intellectual), characteristically a manifold, a total, derive from what is obviously no Reason Principle?

“But how, failing such origin in the simplex, could we escape (what cannot be accepted) the derivation of a Reason principle from a Reason principle?

“And how does the secondary good (the imaged good) derive from the Good, the Absolute? What does it hold from the Absolute Good to entitle it to the name?” ~Plotinus

Matter and Intellect Hierarchy of Being

Plotinus, while apparently having a significant amount of spiritual knowledge, has difficulty grasping the idea of something greater than intellect. That is not too surprising. So many people today think the same way. Many even think the soul is just a part of the mind or another name for the mind. It isn’t.

Plotinus has the relationship of matter and Intellect (thought) down correctly, but he can’t seem to get beyond that, accept on an abstract level. He doesn’t know that the true hierarchy of complex beings like man is: the physical body, intellect or mind, psychic body, spirit, and soul. Four levels, not two, not three. Four levels of being. Four dimensions of existence.

Hierarchy of Being

While Plotinus has an incomplete hierarchy, he does understand how the hierarchy works. The basic idea is that you can’t create or generate something greater than yourself. You can’t generate something with more knowledge than you have. Therefore, the generated must always be of a lower or equal level in the hierarchy of being. It can never be higher than that which generated it. So the intellect (mind) could not be generated by the physical body. It has to be the other way around. Thought generates matter. Matter cannot generate thought. And the mind had to be generated by something higher.

Plotinus doesn’t say, or even speculate, on what that is. It should be obvious, however, that what is higher than intellect is spirit and soul. So the idea that spirit and soul grew out of the body or the mind is just nonsense. The created has to be of an equal or lower level than the creator. Spirit is definitely a higher level than mind or matter. Matter is temporary, constantly changing, constantly being destroyed and replaced. Spirit is permanent. It doesn’t die, get sick or old, it doesn’t fade away. It can become dormant from lack of use and that is the state it is in when we enter the physical realm. Very few people ever bother to awaken the spirit and soul. The primary reason is simply that they have not been made aware that it is necessary or how to do it.

It is only logical, then, to say that the spirit and soul could only be created by something even higher. That something, that Ultimate Consciousness, is what most of us call God. That universal spiritual consciousness creates all spirits and souls. Individual minds—the intellect of man—is generated from the spirit and soul. The physical body is a generation of mind. Top to bottom. The real hierarchy of being.

Simple to Complex Hierarchy of Being

It is said that evolution goes from the simple to the complex. Simple single-celled life forms evolved into simple multi-celled forms like the sponges, then to forms with complex parts and organs with different functions. So it seems like the hierarchy of being is simple to complex. That is only true when you look only at the physical level. If you include the mental, psychic, and spiritual levels of being, you see that matter has fallen from the spirit level that is much higher than matter. In a way, the spiritual level seems simple, but that is true only if you look just at that one level. It is, in fact, the most complex level of being because all other levels are below it, within it.

History of the Hierarchy of Being

Material science tells us that man is a recent development, evolved from lower beings, most recently apes. But that conclusion is made by ignoring the higher levels, or by believing that mind and spirit were generated by the physical body. As already discussed, that is a false belief. In truth, we existed for a very long time as pure spirits before man became physical. We existed before there even was a physical universe of matter. When everything was spirit, we were. Spirits and souls are ageless, eternal.

The other levels are the result of the Great Fall caused by the fallen angels. Only then did the current hierarchy of being come into existence.

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I and ego

I and Ego, Not Perfect, But Necessary

“Let us then begin at the beginning and remind ourselves of a few of the trite and primary facts which all practical persons agree to ignore. That beginning, for human thought, is of course the I, the Ego, the self-conscious subject which is writing this book, or the other self-conscious subject which is reading it; and which declares, in the teeth of all arguments, I AM. Here is a point as to which we all feel quite sure. No metaphysician has yet shaken the ordinary individual’s belief in his own existence. The uncertainties only begin for most of us when when we ask what else is.

“To this ‘I,’ this conscious self ‘imprisoned in the body like an oyster in his shell,’ come, as we know, a constant stream of messages and experiences. Chief among these are the stimulation of the tactile nerves whose result we call touch, the vibrations taken up by the optic nerve which we call light, and those taken up by the ear and perceived as sound.

“What do these experiences mean? The first answer of the unsophisticated Self is, that they indicative of the nature of the external world. …It is immediately apparent, however, that this sense-world, this seemingly real external universe, –though it may be useful and valid in other respects—cannot be the external world, but only the Self’s projected picture of it.” ~Evelyn Underhill

The I and Ego

Underhill has it correct. At least when it comes to physical life on earth. Our first hint of conscious thought is always I. That is to say that when we first start thinking, everything is seen and felt as it relates to us. We have no other point of reference but Self. That ego, which so many silly schools have deemed something superfluous that needs to be destroyed, is something we are born with. It is also something we will die with. It cannot be totally destroyed, and those who waste much time trying to will make little spiritual progress. Yet this concept continues to be promoted. Why? Because it benefits the government, that’s why. It doesn’t benefit the individual who loses all interest in accomplishment of any sort. It doesn’t benefit his spirit and soul if he becomes indifferent to what happens to him. But it does benefit governments. It makes sheep out of people, the so-called sheeple. Governments love sheeple. They don’t rock the boat. They don’t protest. They do what the government tells them to do. They do what the corporations who own the government tell them to do. That is why the destruction of the ego is promoted. It is not a spiritual thing at all.

The World of Senses

Yes, the world of the physical senses is the world of I and Ego. But Ego is more than just interpreting the information coming from the senses. It is also the desire to know, to learn, to grow. Take away ego, or greatly suppress it, and you have no desire to grow, to change yourself, or to make the world a better place.

The world of the physical senses may be limited, yet important. We may not like it, but we do live in the physical world, and we must function in it. That means we have to use the physical senses, even if they are limited. Of course, what we know of the physical world doesn’t come primarily from those senses. It comes from the brain’s interpretation of the senses. It is in those interpretations that many fantasies become reality to us.

Beyond Ego and Senses

But the physical senses are not the only we have. We are also equipped with spiritual senses, though we rarely use them. That is because they don’t communicate with the brain, but with the soul instead. If the soul has not been awakened, then those senses are unused. Even when awakened, what they experience may not be communicated to the conscious mind. Exceptions sometimes occur through intuition. But the development of our spiritual faculties can increase the level of that communication. Of course, it does need that much-maligned ego to communicate with.

I and Ego Summary

I and Ego may be all about the physical world, but in a sense, our spirit and soul live in our physical body. So while we dwell here, I and Ego are necessary. You might be able to do without them if you completely withdraw and become a hermit or a monk. Otherwise, you have to function in the material world as well as the physical. I and Ego make it possible to do so. The ego must be controlled—preferably by your own soul—but it is needed.

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