sojourner

Sojourner Soul and The Spiritual Quest

“So long as the soul advances from strength to strength and from glory to glory, that is, so long as it advances from one degree of virtue to a greater degree and from one level of spiritual knowledge to a higher level, it remains a ‘sojourner,’ one who has no permanent home, as in the saying, ‘My soul has ling been a sojourner’. For great is the distance and many are the levels of knowledge through which the soul must pass before it reaches the place of the miraculous tabernacle, the house of God itself, with the voice of exultation and thanksgiving. …

“The place of the miraculous tabernacle is a dispassionate and untroubled state of virtue in which the Logos of God adorns the soul like a tabernacle with the varied beauties of the virtues. ‘The house of God’ is spiritual knowledge compounded of many different forms of contemplation when God dwells in a soul filling it from the bowl of wisdom. ‘Exultation’ is the soul’s leap of joy at the riches of the virtues. ‘Thanksgiving’ is gratitude for for the bountiful outpouring of wisdom.” ~The Philokalia

Sojourner Soul

Yes, it is good and proper for the soul and mind to travel from strength to strength, level to level. This has nothing to do with physical travel. We need not visit earthly locations said to be spiritual or holy. This is spiritual travel into higher dimensions of being.

We are all starting from different places and we all move at different speeds. The important thing, as the quote reminds us, it that we keep moving forward, learning more, and becoming more completely spiritual.

In the business world, they say that one year of experience repeated ten times is not the same as ten years of experience. What that means is that if you stopped learning after one year, you only really have one year of experience, no matter how long you have been on the job.

Sadly, there are many who complete what is essentially the spiritual equivalent of first grade, then stop learning. They believe that they have already learned everything there is to learn for complete spiritual development. Even sadder, there are spiritual writers and gurus, more interested in money than in truly helping students, who promote this idea because it is what the students want to hear. They get instant meals, instant clothes, so they want instant spiritual development. What they are really doing is anchoring themselves at the first or second road stop on a much longer journey. The one who succeeds is the constant sojourner.

Many Levels

I highlighted a line in the quote to emphasize its importance. The spiritual journey is one of great distance through many levels. It is not a quick trip to the country for a weekend. It is and must be, a lifetime commitment. The truth is, very few individuals reach the highest level while still living in a physical form. Fortunately, the journey continues even after we have abandoned the temporary shell of a physical body. The sojourner continues to move forward as a spirit. Rest in Peace usually doesn’t happen to even the more advanced spiritual people until many years after physical death. The spiritual journey continues up level after level.

What is called in the quote Levels, is what we call in our modern world dimensions. The complete universe consists of nine primary dimensions. We live in physical form on the third. Some spiritual schools talk a lot about trying to reach the fifth dimension. That is certainly a good goal, a great step forward. But even when you get there, you still have five more to go. Don’t stop being a spiritual sojourner too soon.

House of God

The highest dimension, which is called the House of God in the quote, is every bit as great as the writer describes it, and more. It is the place where we unite with the One, where we become whole again. It is the place of ultimate knowledge and wisdom, that wisdom and knowledge that the Gnostics called Gnosis.

Don’t think that you have to permanently attain that level to achieve gnosis. The true spiritual sojourner is fortunate enough to often have quick glimpses of dimension one or two levels higher than where he is. This is what has made it possible for a few to grasp some of that wisdom and bring it back to the third dimension with them. These are the spiritual sojourners who become great prophets, gurus, or religious leaders. But if you ever speak to one of these advanced sojourners, they will tell you the journey is never over, keep moving forward. Being a spiritual sojourner is a dedication, not a hobby or a fad.

Share
Siddhartha

Siddhartha Begins His Spiritual Journey

“Siddhartha was thus loved by everyone. He was a source of joy for everybody, he was a delight for them all. But he, Siddhartha, was not a source of joy for himself, he found no delight in himself. … Dreams and restless thoughts came into his mind, flowing from the water of the river, sparkling from the stars of the night, melting from the beams of the sun, dreams came to him and a restlessness of the soul, fuming from the sacrifices, breathing forth from the verses of the Rig-Veda, being infused into him, drop by drop, from the teachings of the old Brahmans. Siddhartha had started to nurse discontent in himself, he had started to feel that the love of his father and the love of his mother, and also the love of his friend, Govinda, would not bring him joy forever. … The sacrifices and the invocation of the gods were excellent—but was that all? …

“Not to be looked down upon was the tremendous amount of enlightenment which lay here collected and preserved by innumerable generations of wise Brahmans.—But where were the Brahmans, where the priests, where the wise men or penitents, who had succeeded in not just knowing this deepest of all knowledge but also to live it? Where was the knowledgeable one who wove his spell to bring his familiarity with the Atman out of the sleep into the state of being awake. …

“Was not Atman in him, did not the pristine source spring from his heart? It had to be found, the pristine source in one’s own self, it had to be possessed! Everything else was searching, was a detour, was getting lost.” ~Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha Begins His Journey

Siddhartha had grown up in a spiritual family. His father was a Brahman. So he knew the importance of spiritual development. He knew it was necessary. So he practiced his meditation diligently. He prayed and fasted. But eventually, like many today looking around at the conventional churches, realized that these daily practices were not helping him progress. They were doing little more than taking up time and keeping him under control. He mentions at one point that these spiritual practices are doing nothing more than helping one hide from the world. He realized that they did no more than alcohol or drugs do for many. He was little more than a drunk who hid from reality and real spiritual growth in ritual fasting, praying, and meditating.

Siddhartha and Asceticism

So Siddhartha then decides to join a group of ascetics. He gives up his fine clothes and good meals and begins to wear rags ad eat little. He soon discovers that this path isn’t really doing any more than the constant praying and meditation.

Then he hears of Gautama Buddha. Everyone is saying this man has become a true Buddha, an enlightened one, yet has rejected asceticism as the best path to follow.

Siddhartha and Buddha

So Siddhartha, along with his best friend Govinda, leaves the ascetics and goes off in search of this new enlightened one, Gautama Buddha. They find him and listen to him give a public talk. Both Siddhartha and Govinda are impressed with Buddha’s speech and whole personality. He is clearly one who has achieved a high level of enlightenment. This causes Govinda to join the group of devoted followers who pledge to listen to and follow the teachings of the master. Siddhartha, however, does not. He meets with Buddha and explains to him that, while he recognizes that the Buddha is an enlightened one, he has learned from Buddha’s own teachings, that simply listening to the talks of an enlightened one will not bring about his own enlightenment. He must seek enlightenment within himself and not from others. Buddha smiles a faint agreement and wishes him well.

What Siddhartha Learned

We hear so much these days from spiritual people on social media that religion is about hearing other’s experiences, spirituality is having your own. Yet those same people ask others for recommendations of books and videos that can bring them enlightenment. That is doing exactly the same thing as the religious people, just with different books! And following meditation methods with little or no evidence that they accomplish anything except turning people into docile sheeple is no different than the religious people attending weekly services that have become empty ceremony. They are correct in rejecting the empty ceremonies as a path to true enlightenment, but too many of them are simply following a different, yet equally empty, spiritual path.

Siddhartha learned that we must awaken our own spiritual self and learn from that true self. All we can get from books or teachers are methods for doing that. The teachers cannot give us truth, they can only point us in the right direction. And hiding from the world in drugs, booze, or meditation isn’t going to do that.

More to Come

This is only the beginning of Siddhartha’s journey. I’m sure I will have more to say about it as it continues.

Share
shamanic tree or stairway to heaven, All-Soul

The Soul’s Journey

“The Soul is working steadily upward, from higher to higher, from gross to finer forms and manifestations. And is will steadily work for ages to come, always progressing, always advancing, always unfolding. The universe contains many worlds for the soul to inhabit, and then after it has passed on to other universes, there will still be infinitude before it. The destiny of the Soul of Man is of wondrous promise and possibilities—the mind today cannot began to even dream of what is before the soul. Those who have already advanced many steps beyond you—those Elder Brethren—are constantly extending to you aid in many directions.” ~William Walker Atkinson

The soul is immortal, yet few stop to wonder what it is going to do after their physical body dies and the soul leaves it. It is a standard practice to say Rest in Peace to those who have left the physical body, and I am just as guilty of it as anyone else because it is the conventional thing to say. To one who has a better understanding of the structure of the universe, including the spiritual dimensions, to say R. I. P. regarding a dead friend or relative is actually a curse. It’s a curse because the departed soul should not rest, but continue its journey upward.

Mr. Atkinson says the soul will “work for ages” to reach it’s ultimate goal that we generally call heaven. When he says, however, that the universe contains many worlds for the soul to inhabit, that can be misleading. He is not (I hope) saying that a human soul will spend time on Earth, then on Mars, then on Saturn and so on. It would be more accurate to say the universe has many levels, many dimensions, and the soul must pass through many of them before it gets back to heaven. Continue reading “The Soul’s Journey”

Share

A Spiritual Journey

“The Aspiring One has embarked on the waters of illusion; his craft is afloat but it has not yet reached the shores where the promise of new life is fulfilled. Now he is guided by two beings, one a lovely maiden and the other an ill-visaged man. These two strive one with the other, each grasping one side of the craft; now, it overturns. The maiden seeks to drag the Aspiring One down, while the ill-favored man seeks to keep him afloat. … They come to the sands of the shining shore where the Light of Truth turns the maiden into a vile-faced hag and the man into a handsome youth. The Aspiring One lies on the sands … as one dead. … The Beauteous One comes attended by handmaidens … The Beauteous One bends over the prostrate man and says, ‘Revive, this is not a place where death rules.” He moves, and she says, “Raise yourself and cast away the residue of your mortality.” ~The Kolbrin Bible SCL:2:4-5

Stairway to heavenThe Aspiring One in this story is a person we might call a seeker: someone who has awakened to the need for spiritual enlightenment and has started on that journey, represented here as a boat trip. The boat is not described, but we can easily see that this is a small boat intended for one person, probably a rowboat. I believe the boat represents the physical body, the vehicle one rides in while on his quest for spiritual enlightenment. The water is the physical world that must be navigated while we make that journey. I think the two being who tilt the boat back and forth are easily recognized. They are more often depicted as an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The interesting thing in this case is the description of the two. We have an attractive maiden and an ugly man. Most would assume that the pretty girl is the angel and the ugly man an allegory for the devil, but the truth turns out to be just the opposite because both are hiding their true appearance. The obvious lesson here is that we shouldn’t judge by appearance and the standard Bible is full of stories where people were tricked into doing the wrong thing by demons pretending to be angels. We learn their true nature when the man falls in the water and the pretty girl tries to drown him while the ugly man tries to save him. Continue reading “A Spiritual Journey”

Share