Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Game of life requires forgetting and letting go - a perspective from William Arkle

ME: "My cup runneth over" and I am concerned to catch the valuable life experience and not allow it to go to waste doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. There are so many possibilities to choose from in my creative play.

GOD: You simply cannot do everything all of the time. 

Experiment and waste go together and lead to discovery, so don't become anxious about results.

Try to enjoy the process itself which allows for lateral thinking and lateral diversions. The new things are not found where you expect them to be.

We can't live "new beginnings" without letting go of the "old beginnings" and allowing them to slip away. All that is really valuable will come back to you when it is needed.

This is part of The Game of life which requires forgetting and letting go with good grace and a sense of non-importance of ones valuable Self.

So do not fear to waste your time and energy, you will never run out of them and the "Crisis" in the World is only solved by those who follow the best instincts of their Spiritual Nature.

From a short piece by William Arkle written just before he died.

Friday, 18 August 2017

How do we know that awakening is needed?

...Because we live, in all mainstream public discourse, in an insane world of lies.

The insanity can be seen in the kind of things we talk about and what is avoided/ excluded from conversation.

The lies can be seen in that all our insane conversations are built on lies - in deliberate lies: that is, on strategically dishonest, selective, distorted, misrepresentation ad misleading (as can be seen if ever we can compare public discourse with reality as experienced directly).

We categorically live in a world where what is treated as of primary importance is either trivial or false; or when genuinely important is permeated with very obvious distortions and taboos.

Now, all this is perfectly obvious to everyone who is genuine in their spiritual Christianity; but in fact very few people indeed are genuine in their spiritual Christianity - very, very few. (Not because they try and fail; but because they are not even trying.)

And those who are not actively seeking to live in a spiritual way in the context of Christianity, are - here-and-now - in great peril; because for the first time in history the mainstream public discourse is positively leading to chosen self-damnation.

I mean, normal modern people disbelieve in anything other than the material world and see no need to seek for anything other; and/ or when they are spiritual - eg. New Age, Perennial Philosophy/ Eastern Religious people, they disbelieve in the reality of purposive evil in this world and the possibility that they themselves are on course deliberately to blight their own eternal life beyond mortal death by choosing to side-against God. 

The fact is that we modern people in The West live in an insane world of lies; therefore if we adopt a passive attitude to human existence we will develop and endorse and end-up deliberately choosing an insane and lying eternity - which we can do, because we are free agents.

We simply must notice our pervasive environment of insane lies, must awake to the reality of our situation, and must acknowledge the fact of our own personal agency - our freedom...

We simply must become spiritually active, striving; must take our personal life and the nature of existence seriously and truthfully, and then (but only then) can we do something constructive about our situation. 

Prophecy versus numerology - And living well, here and now

I do not believe that divine destiny is organised in terms of numbers, therefore it cannot be predicted from numerical patterns. I don't believe that God follows a timetable for human salvation and theosis; nor do I believe that theological history is following an abstract geometrical master plan expressive of specific proportions.

I regard time as serial and sequential; as implied by the fact that Christianity is an historical religion and the fact of free agency (hence non-predictability).

And therefore, I am sure that all prophecies of divinely-ordained events which are tied to specific dates are intrinsically wrong - because derived from false premises.

However, the validity of prophecy as such is not ruled-out - indeed it would be difficult and inconsistent for a Christian to rule-out the validity of prophecy, considering its emphasis in the Gospels (as well as elsewhere in the Bible).

All that is uncertain concerning the validity of prophecy as a general phenomenon (not each specific prophecy, of course) is the mechanisms by which prophecy is made to be fulfilled - and here there are presumably many ways and means by which a prophesied event can be made to come to fulfilment - ranging from predictions based upon extrapolation from a very complete basis of knowledge, to direct divine interventions (whether explicit and miraculous, or behind-the-scenes imperceptible).

For me, the most impressive and overall-convincing prophecy I have encountered was by Rudolf Steiner in 1918; something I have extensively written about previously.

I believe that this was a true prophecy - and a vital one, which has primary implications for what we (individually - you and me) should be doing in our lives; as a major priority. However I would also emphasise that Steiner made many more prophecies which were not validated, or were indeed either nonsensical or incomprehensible - including many that were based upon exactly that kind of 'numerology' which I rejected in the first paragraph above.

Which goes to show that although Steiner was a real prophet, he was (like most other prophets) fallible and flawed: being a real prophet does not imply getting-it-right all-the-time (nor even, quantitatively, most of the time).

As usual - as, indeed, the world has been designed - we need to work-out such things, each for himself. Life isn't a matter of following a program; because each person is different - ultimately, not superficially different; and is meant to be different; and each has a different path of divine destiny that must be (and this is a vital part of it) discovered by personal effort.

(At the basis of creation is that we are all hoped/ intended/ given-the-choice to become divine sons and daughters of God; and like mortal sons and daughters, each divine son or daughter is (and is designed to be, supposed to be) unique in his or her divinity; this resulting from the over-time experience of God-within-us that we all share identically, interacting with our eternal/ unique/ divine selves.) 

My understanding of Steiner's 1918 prophecy is that he described what we ought to do - what God wanted us to do, and still does - and what would happen if we chose not to do it. (This was both a warning, at the time it was given - and is now a means of validating the prophecy.)

Steiner knew what God wanted us to do because he was (in this instance) unusually able to discern this from God-within-him; and he predicted, largely correctly, what would happen if we did not do it from his general understanding of Life and the powers at work in it.

(Steiner's other prophecies were wrong from the usual kind of human failings; especially a characterological reluctance to acknowledge past errors and the possibility of present error. Also from his Pythagorean/ Platonic tendencies towards strict numerology and God as a blueprint-planner. Steiner displayed a fairly common form of pride, especially in men - a fixed baseline assumption of de facto infallibility. One is hard-pressed to find a place when Steiner explicitly admitted to a significant mistake; at least not without also making so many explanations and excuses for his error that the admission is in effect undercut and reversed.)

The value of this and other real prophecies is to clarify causes and consequences; and therefore to clarify our priorities - the nature and direction of our efforts.

In the case of Steiner's 1918 prophecy, this clarifies that the Christianity of the future must be different from the Christianity of the past (which, with time as sequential and history as real, would necessarily be the case); and that we must be focused on re-establishing our individual and personal connection with the imperceptible, immaterial, spiritual world; but in a new and unprecedented way.

(Steiner made the specific recommendation that this be done by the general method of Anthroposophy - and in a general sense of the aim of the spiritual activity I regard this as correct; although Steiner's specific recommended techniques and meditative 'exercises', framed in terms of a stepwise process of 'initiation', are unconvincing, arbitrary and apparently ineffective - or even counter-productive in practice.) 

In my life this means that I keep-on trying to change my world view from the prevalent modern spirit-denying metaphysics of materialism/ reductionism/ positivism/ scientism - but not in the direction of trying to revive that early historical and childhood spirituality of immersion-in, and sensory-perception-of, the spiritual world. My aim is to develop the habit of experiencing the reality of the spiritual, immaterial and divine world in the domain and activity of thinking.

I seek a direct knowledge of reality - a knowledge located in my thinking, not my perceiving - of the divine and spiritual realities; such that I can live properly from my own resources even when all (or nearly all) significant social institutions are corrupted and inverted. 

In sum, we should not strive to see or hear (or touch, smell or taste) spirits and divinities and unseen realities; instead we should strive to know them in our thinking.

This, at any rate, is what I am doing.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What is the significance of the upcoming US total eclipse?

On 21 August a total eclipse of the sun will sweep across the entirety of the USA. Does this event have any significance - aside from the astronomical angle?

Eclipses seem to have had a bad reputation in ancient times, being regarded as portents of disaster. Assuming that the world has long been in the grip of a spiritual war between god and evil, angelic and demonic powers - why might this be?

My interpretation is that evil powers are the ones who most like to plan and strategise, and use symbolism. This (I guess) is because they tend to ignore free agency - they try to overwhelm people's ability to perceive clearly, understand real significance, make good decisions. An eclipse is just the kind of thing they would look-forward to.

The sun is good, and a symbol of good (indeed of Christ) - so solar influence being blocked (even temporarily) is symbolically 'a bad thing'. There is also a tradition of evil, or at least ambivalent, symbolism of the moon - which is doing the blocking... however, I interpret this as a deceptive distortion of reality, and that the moon is also good, but in a different and complementary way from the sun.

In sum, I would not be surprised if the forces of evil had something planned for the eclipse. Yet, if the forces of evil are planning, then the forces of good will know that something is being planned; and perhaps will know what it is. The angelic strategy is, however, different - because the angels hope that Men will perceive and think clearly about reality, and exercise their agency to choose well - whatever happens.

And the eclipse is also a hazard for evil, because it is potentially a great big primary experience that may induce people to think about ultimates and realities... always something that favours Good.

So, the demons and their servants will - I guess - be very keen that people experience the eclipse only at second hand - via the mass media; and that the experience will be undermined by socialising (e.g. an 'eclipse party'), social media ('nuff said), and technology (if someone is trying to get a good photograph of the eclipse, they will not be having a spiritual experience).

So, maybe what we ought to do is to experience the solar eclipse (whether the totality or more likely some degree of partial eclipse) in as simple, direct, quiet, thoughtful and solitary fashion as may be contrived...

Tolkien in Love

For those who can receive BBC Radio 4 there is an interesting programme this Saturday (19th August) at 2.30pm. Tolkien in Love is a radio drama about how the great man (or boy as he was then since he was only 16) met and fell in love with the 19 year Edith Bratt but was then separated from her for 3 years by his priest guardian in order to complete his education and prepare for an academic career.  The couple remained faithful to each other during the separation, and Tolkien wrote to Edith on his 21st birthday asking her to marry him. She accepted though there were still one or two obstacles along the way as one finds out during the course of this drama. The play is described as based on real events that would later inspire the tale of Beren and Luthien, featured in the Silmarillion.

One fears the worst when anything like this is produced nowadays but I've heard a preview of the programme and I enjoyed it. The acting is good, especially, I thought, that of Claudia Jessie who plays Edith but the actor playing Tolkien, Will Merrick, is fine too though it's a bit of a shock to hear Tolkien played as a very young man with a present day accent, so firmly fixed in the mind is the image of him as a tweed-suited old gentleman with a pipe. But the modernisms are not too jarring. All in all I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Impression From Above

I was very interested to read Bruce Charlton's recent piece here 'That Hideous Strength Revisited' because it almost exactly coincides with what I think. I say 'almost' as there is one slight difference. Those who have read my personal blog will know that it derives from an experience I had that started in 1979 and continued, on and off, until 1999 in which I was spoken to by spiritual beings who instructed me in the ways of the spiritual path, particularly with regard to my own deficiencies in that respect. So this finished just before the start of the current millennium (and also just before the solar eclipse of 1999 which I see as a kind of punctuation mark in the story of recent human development).

Now these spiritual beings did not identify themselves but they were distinguished by a wisdom and love not of this world. They were not ostensibly Christian but the only spiritual teacher they ever referred to was Jesus and, as far as I was concerned, they spoke as disciples of Christ, emphasising above all the need for the aspirant to truth to acquire humility and love. They were clearly not Catholics or Protestants or whatever, such distinctions I feel must be left behind in Heaven, but, to me at any rate, they demonstrated the reality of theosis, of men of this world transformed into realised spiritual beings.

I am well aware that this is dodgy ground. The possibility, even likelihood, of illusion and deception in this area is huge. But I must speak as I found.

Anyway I only mention this because it is the slight area of disagreement I have with Bruce. It is possible that beings such as those who spoke to Ransom in That Hideous Strength may speak to us. Not that I regard those who spoke to me as mighty angels like the eldils but they were from the higher worlds. Having said that, I must add that these Masters, as I called them, never told me what to do, and I think Bruce is absolutely right to say that now, at this juncture in human unfoldment, we are on our own, outwardly at least. They gave me personal spiritual instruction on a fairly basic, though pertinent, level but that was all. The rest was up to me. And I do think it significant that this stopped at the turn of the millennium.

They did however tell me that when they stopped speaking to me they would communicate in a different way. They also told me that they tried to impress me with ideas which I would receive on the level of the intuition though it was up to me to learn to discriminate between the truth of that and what they termed wishful thinking. I think I am sometimes aware of this and can distinguish between the two but who knows? This is where purity of intent, devotion to truth and strict personal honesty come in and which of us is perfect in those respects? We can but try and through trying we learn and improve, both in what you might call spiritual transparency and sensitivity to truth. That is a far better thing than simply carrying out instructions. This way we learn to become masters ourselves - eventually. 

I think this is the same as Bruce means when he writes of angels communicating with us by joining their thinking with ours. They impress us on a spiritual plane and we translate that impression as best we can, according to the degree of our own receptivity. It is not the same thing as telepathy which operates on a lower level, a purely mental one. This process operates on the spiritual plane and requires a sensitivity to that plane on our part. Without that sensitivity, which is dependent to a large extent on inner purity and love of truth, we will not be able to respond to spiritual impression though we may well respond to impressions from lower levels which is why there is so much spiritual confusion in this world, and why it is often easier for false ideas to gain traction than true ones, necessarily more demanding in terms of our ability to live them.

It may be that there are genuine spiritual beings communicating directly with their disciples in this world nowadays, but I am not aware of such and from my own perspective the time for that is past. Bruce is right to say that now we are responsible for ourselves and must seek to live from the highest position we can while under constant bombardment from the prince of this world who has more or less taken over completely in terms of all aspects of the outer world. He dominates the political and cultural worlds, the educational and scientific ones too, and he has corrupted most forms of religion and spirituality. I'm afraid that is just how things are. 

But we are not alone. The spiritual world is always with us and seeks to inspire us, but we must cleanse our hearts and minds to be able to detect this. We must stand aside from 'this world' but not disdain it or our fellow men and women even when they are in thrall to the enemy (let's call a spade a spade). They are God's children just as we are. He wants to bring them to him however far they wander but, ultimately, it is their choice. God forces no one.

So listen for the voice within. Blot out the noise of this world, however persuasive and confident it sounds. Know that the darkness of this time was prophesied and so was the light that eventually follows after. Keep faithful, watch and pray and don't worry if you appear to be alone. By and large the computer revolution is a weapon in the hands of the forces of materialism and atheism but you can take advantage of it too, as this blog does, if you recognise and stay alert to its predominantly negative aspect. Through this means you can connect to people around the world who think as you do and so know that there are others like you. You may be heavily outnumbered but you are not alone. Through enduring this time of trial you have the opportunity of making greater progress than you might have done living in a more spiritually congenial time.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

That Hideous Strength Revisited and Revised

I am currently halfway through listening to the excellent audiobook version of CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength ('THS'), read by Stephen Pacey (who played Del Tarrant in the excellent 1970s BBC Sci-Fi series Blake's 7).

From a perspective and through a lens derived from CS Lewis's best friend Owen Barfield; I can imagine a revised version of THS, in line with my understanding of our situation some seventy years on from the publication of THS in 1945...

One major difference would be that Lewis has his heroes (the St Anne's fellowship) essentially passive in their obedience to orders coming from the 'angelic' helpers. Nowadays, we would not receive these orders. We would have-to work things out for ourselves, as best we could. Or, more exactly, we would need to develop the spiritual perspective and abilities which would enable this working-out. We would need to develop what Barfield termed Final Participation.

Final Participation is something which can only come from the choice and will or each of us, as individuals. It cannot be conferred upon us - indeed the essence of it is that we are free and agent. Final Participation is precisely a personal, experiential effort-full thing. We need to look-within to seek god-in-us, to find our divine self - and to become aware of this. 

Here and now - we aren't going to be able to wait or hope for leadership; probably we will be literally on-our-own: alone... at least in many practical respects. This because our current situation is not a recapitulation of monasticism or the like; the destruction, subversion and inversion of groups is at the heart of the evil of our modern condition.

A modern THS would perhaps be about the good characters, the heroes of St Anne's, individually and dispersed. About moral choices made alone and in the context of an overwhelmingly large and powerful Establishment of Evil that is not recent (like The NICE in THS), but has been in place and in control for at least two generations.

The angels ('eldils') would not be perceptible in the necessary state of consciousness of Final Participation; they would not visit, we could not see them - and neither would we hear them speak in words; not even words formed in our minds. Instead, angels would communicate directly by joining their thinking with ours.

However, we - in our thinking - would always be free and agent - in control. Hence we could block contact with the angels, if we chose. And we could not (merely) open our minds to them. Rather, we would actively be thinking is such a way that we could share in their thoughts, and they in ours.

How could help come? In defeating a vast and powerful evil Establishment, clearly help is essential. THS had the Original Participation magic of Merlin, and direct and miraculous aid from the eldils/ angels. What might we have, now?

Well, it would be imperceptible to direct observation. It would be behind the scenes - by synchronicity. Natural phenomena (rain, wind, sun, tides, earth movements...) would - 'coincidentlally' - favour Good and be hostile to evil.

Enemies would be repenting (as the situation clarifies) and changing sides, ceasing to do their evil duties, turning to sabotage the evil plans.

There would be events of exceeding improbability - actually miracles, but always explicable in terms of chance. Perfect-Storms of 'luck' - both good and ill 'luck' - good fortune for the Good and adverse chance for the evil. Cumulatively piling-on, and on.

(These being proximal consequences of distal and subtle angelic interventions; behind-the-scenes changes of arrangements; altering small upstream occurrences to generate large downstream effects...)

How about our own personal strength, motivation, will - and love? How could these be sustained when we are on-our-own? I assume there will be positive-feedback reinforcements of such things. As the situation develops, evil becomes clearer, becomes un-masked. Because evil is a trial of our strength and a mode of spiritual development; it may be like exercising in a gym - immediate effort being rewarded, some time after, by greater strength.

The key and core is motivation; the guiding principle is honesty; and the goal is love (towards which we are pointed by the discernment of the heart; which knows truth, beauty and virtue - and their opposites).

We must be self-sufficient in terms of motivations; but this is only possible through the gift of repentance from Christ. Trial and error will get us where we need to be; but only when error is acknowledged and repented.

The war is between those who acknowledge and experience the spiritual world, the immaterial world, the world of God; and those who don't. Between those who know we are all children of God and destined to become free; and those who believe themselves and everyone else to be evolved automata subject to rigid determinism alleviated only by randomness. Between those who take ultimate responsibility and look to god-within; and those who hope for external intervention for rescue.

The happy ending of a new THS would be very happy indeed! A world of free, agent, people affiliated in loving families and with close friends; a world therefore open-ended, of creativity. Not a utopia; but an active, developing, expanding, deeply-rewarding world of perpetual interest, challenges, increasing awareness and understanding - making, doing and thinking.