Sunday, 9 November 2014

William Arkle



William Arkle - probably aged about 70

A brief and incomplete biography of William Arkle - who was a religious visionary and writer, and an artist and thinker in many media but especially a painter.

The purpose of this web site is to gather my reflections on his work.

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William Arkle was born in 1924, and died in 2000.

His father, Frank Manning Arkle, was born in 1894 in Cheshire, and was an excellent rugby player (he had a trial for England and played for Clifton Rugby Club, in Bristol) - he was a tobacco manufacturer in Bristol, and at one time was Sheriff of Bristol.  

William (usually called Bill) Arkle served in the Royal Navy in the 1939-45 war as an Engineer. After the war he became an art student in Bristol and married Julia Rae Hubbard on 11 October 1947. This marriage was short lived, and they were divorced. William married Elizabeth (Liz) in 1954. They had two children called Nick and Rose.

Throughout this time, Bill produced a lot of paintings on visionary subjects (he typically used ordinary household acrylic paints on hardboard), and became good friends with Colin Wilson.

At first the family lived in Clifton, then Alveston, in Bristol making money by renovating houses - apparently Liz was the business brain. They later moved to Backwell Hill House, about 7 miles south west of Bristol - which had previously been a monastery and stood in large grounds. They had horses and various other animals.

Through the 1970s and into the 1980s the household was large and included people visiting to work on spiritual matters with Bill, and also people who helped with the horses and running the household. Bill also made money from selling his paintings from a shop in Whiteladies Road in Bristol, and from picture restoration - especially pictures of horses. 

During this period, William Arkle published A Geography of Consciousness (1974) which had an introduction by Colin Wilson. The Great Gift, a book of his pictures with commentary, and some essays, was published in 1977. BBC West broadcast a TV program called William Arkle at 22.45h on 22 April 1977 in the series Life Story. 

He also privately published three booklets - Letter from a Father (1973 - this essay is also included in The Great Gift mentioned above), Equations of being: notes on the nature of love (date unknown - perhaps about 1980? as it was published from Backwell and lists all books written up to this date on the back cover, but not the following...), The hologram and mind (date unknown - perhaps about 1990, as it was published from the Cotswolds).

In the mid-1980s they moved to the Cotswolds, then after some years moved back to a house called Pigotts in Chelvey Batch (very near to Backwell Hill House). Around about this time Liz Arkle died, and Bill subsequently re-married in his sixties.


This is all I have been able to discover, so far. My sources are Colin Wilson's 1974 Introduction to A Geography of Consciousness; internet searches which only turned up information on Bill's father; and letters from Tessa Lecomber and her mother Maggie Lecomber Paish - who were next door neighbours and friends with the Arkle's, living on Backwell Hill; and a friend of Bill's from the early 1960s named Malcolm, who contacted me by e-mail and provided the photo above.  

I will add further relevant information if I find any.

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The major web resources on William Arkle are hosted by Michael Perry

http://www.billarkle.co.uk

http://shepton.org/page/the-paintings-of-william-arkle

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(What follows still requires a good deal of sub-editing - but I might as well post it in the mean time.) 

Why I am fascinated by William Arkle


Why am I fascinated by William Arkle's work - why have his writings (and also paintings) hit me like a bolt of lightning?

There are two answers -

First: That what Arkle has to say is important and relevant to current cultural needs; and has validity because (I believe) it comes from well-motivated and genuine mystical-experiential insights.

Second: I can perceive - in retrospect - that I was 'meant' to be doing this many, many years ago - and have been ignoring strong 'hints' to this effect since the mid-1970s...

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1. As a teenager I lived in the same village (Backwell) as William Arkle - probably overlapping for about a decade; and my sister knew his wife and daughter (via an interest in horses).

2. I used to be close friends with Arkle's next door neighbours - visiting often and staying as a guest a few times. And these were 'neighbours' in the sense of being two of only three residences - the other was a farm - on top of a hill and with no other houses for a radius of about a mile in all directions!

3. I saw a BBC television documentary program about Arkle in about 1976, and was both amazed and reluctantly fascinated by the idea of a spiritual 'guru' living so near-by.

4. I read his book Geography of Consciousness in 1978, having I discovered a copy in the Edinburgh City Library after my family had moved from Somerset to Scotland. The introduction to GoC led me to read Colin Wilson, and from then on I read a lot of CW - however, I tended to regard Arkle as essentially a Wilsonite; an influence on CW, rather than a thinker in his own right.

5. Nonetheless I loved the first section of GoC about awakening in the morning, throwing back the curtains etc. It stuck in my mind and fascinated me - so from 1978 I was looking-out for a secondhand copy of the book. I would often check for this whenever I went to a secondhand shop. I never found a copy anywhere.

This led to the most clear-cut example of synchronicity of my whole life.
 
I was walking through the Bloomsbury area of London, near the British Museum, sometime in the mid-1980s when I saw an unusual-looking little bookshop (it may have been an Eastern Religious or Anthroposophical shop, I can't recall); and it came into mind that they may have a copy of Arkle's book - or perhaps that they did have a copy. I walked into the shop, and straight to an upper shelf (no looking around) where there was the book - apparently waiting for me.
 
6. I even visited William Arkle's house (in about 1982-4) and spent an excellent evening with his son Nick (an electronic music composer - he was showing me around his studio). During this visit I actually saw William Arkle, and said hello to him. But I didn't take things any further.
 
7. In early 2008, just before a visit to Glastonbury, I discovered the web pages http://www.billarkle.co.uk and 'discovered' [this later turned out to be wrong] that the Arkle family had relocated to Glastonbury before Arkle died in 2000. While I was in Glastonbury, I asked a couple of people if they knew about him (in a cafe and a book shop), but drew a blank. [I now realize that Arkle never had relocated to Glastonbury - I have no clear idea where I got this idea from! Perhaps I mistakenly inferred it from the fact that his web pages were produced from the adjacent village of Shepton Mallet.] 
 
8. However, it was only after the death of Colin Wilson earlier this year that I read, and really engaged with, and finally understood William Arkle.  
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The significance of all this is that, in retrospect, it is clear to me that I was supposed to meet Bill Arkle, or at least to engage fully with his ideas, for several decades before I actually did so. 

And by 'supposed' I think I mean by some kind of divine providence - because nobody else could have laid-on all these encounters. 
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My understanding (and I don't much care what other people may think about it! - after all, synchronicities are not designed to be any kind of scientific proof or legal evidence or public rhetoric) is that this was a path set out for me to take, for my own good - but a path that I resolutely and repeatedly avoided treading. 

I was given chance after chance, hint after hint - all of which I rejected.

Who knows what might have happened has I taken notice of these chances and hints - but I did not!
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So I start from where I am, belatedly.

Perhaps I was not ready earlier, because it was not until 2008-9 that I became a Christian and open to the reality of the divine, and then it took longer before I felt able to discern when someone was a real mystic - speaking with the validity of direct personal experience, and probably I also needed to understand and align-with Mormon theology to appreciate Arkle's particular contribution.

Or perhaps I would have been ready earlier if I had taken notice of the chances and hints.

Anyway, that is why I am now reading and thinking about William Arkle with such intensity. 



The anthropomorphic God



William Arkle's excerpted essay in italics, my comments in normal font:

From http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/text/divinepurpose.html

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My feeling is that we must discover the nature of the Creator’s person to be so loveable that we try to read the heart of His being in order that we may delight and fulfil its longing…


Note: Arkle's basic insight is that we find ourselves in this world, and our main task is to accept the great gift of God's personal love. The reality of the situation is hard for us to perceive because our experience of mortal life is (necessarily, for reasons to do with its purpose) so slow and close-up. 

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For us, whose spirits are so often weary with the difficulties of the world the release from anxiety and frustration which comes to us if we enter any sphere of relative bliss, must seem to be enough... There are many people who have experienced this blissful aspect of their nature, so it is not out of place to ask why the Creator, or if they prefer it, the One Life, did not arrange for them to be born directly into this blissful state, if reaching it was the sole purpose of creation.


Note: The goal of life for many 'Eastern' religions (e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism and some New Age spiritualities) is an impersonal state of bliss. Arkle regards this as one possibility - but not the best; and points out that bliss cannot be the highest aim of a loving God because otherwise we would be born directly into bliss, rather than having to endure mortal earthly life.  

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Why should there be any physical manifestation, with all the accompanying effort, if blissful nature was only concerned to become blissful nature again, and paid no heed to individual characteristics to further its intrinsic purpose?


Note: Furthermore, incarnation - life in a body, dwelling on a physical earth, and each of us distinctive in terms of physique, personality, abilities etc - has no point if impersonal bliss were the highest purpose. If humans were supposed-to lose self, lose ego, lose personality, and lose our bodies - then the obvious arrangement would be to by-pass this tedious mucking-about on earth, and we would simply 'go to bliss, go directly to bliss, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 pounds'. 

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Such a reality would not support the demonstration and experience of values which we, as men and women, continually stumble upon. There is no room in such an enclosed system for the individual courage, integrity and affection which we know exists. Or if these qualities exist in our experience, they become in this reality only a dream and a game, and their significance is insubstantial. I should not choose to take part in such a game willingly, and the bliss of such a reality has for me already taken on a quality which devalues itself, as well as what I have unwittingly mistaken to be myself...


Note: Arkle notes that for humans to be aimed at impersonal bliss, destroys all the 'values' which we encounter in mortal incarnate life - virtue, beauty, truth - all types of goodness are re-framed as delusions. They are reduced to the significance of 'a dream and a game'. To regard this world as an illusion may free us from attachment to misery, ugliness, lies, pain - but inevitably is does so at the cost of regarding all values (negative and positive) as delusions. Demotivation is complete; alienation is complete.

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I feel sure that the picture we have just drawn is one which many people hold when they take up the pursuit of the spiritual path; and at the same time feel that the idea of a real God, to whom we can relate, is an immature and childish attempt to sustain the reality of our wishful thinking. They would say that an idea of a personal God is 'anthropomorphic' and, in our present climate of thought, this is expected to be automatically a damning criticism.


Note: Arkle highlights that modern culture, including modern spirituality, is rooted in a cynical pseudo-sophistication that regards an anthropomorphic (Man-like) concept of God as 'immature and childish' - he might add unintelligent, uneducated, and in general pitiful.  

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The answer I would like to give to this is simply to state that the anthropomorphic condition can be taken the other way. That is, it can be taken as a supreme compliment on the part of the Creator who has endowed us with an image which conforms to His own image because He has such high hopes of us. In a cynical age this simple and most beautiful attitude is the hardest of all to uphold.


Note: For Arkle, God made us in his image because his highest hope is that we will become, eventually, deified to the extent of becoming his divine 'friends' - because God desires, wants, yearns for companionship, for Heavenly 'society'. This is regarded as the basic motivation behind creation: God's yearning.  

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To imagine a God in the image of degenerate man is one thing, but to imagine man to be capable of living and upholding all the most valuable qualities of God’s nature is quite another. This gift to us of ourselves, as something which can sustain comparison with that of the Divine nature is exactly the gift which I believe our Creator is endeavouring to bring about.


Note: Arkle here turns-around the usual criticism that anthropomorphism is imagining God merely in the image of Men - when Men are such degenerate creatures. Instead he invites us to imagine Man created in God's image - which entails that God is Man-like - because God hopes that we will become capable of living in the same way as God.

So Man in God's image can be regarded as a dragging-down from the divine; or, as here, a raising-up to the divine.

For Arkle, clues to the human condition are in ourselves: in our physical appearance, and in our deepest motivations and yearnings. We contain an essence of God (a divine spark) in a partial and embryonic form.

Therefore, if we can intuit and bring-out these deepest yearnings, we find they clarify, complement and confirm other spiritual knowledge - most specifically divine revelations - and provide understanding, direction, motivation and delight in our proper spiritual path in this world.

And a crucial step is to acknowledge that because we are like God, then God is like us.

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Mother in Heaven

 I came to the point of love at my inmost heart, and I was glad and at rest, like unto the end of things. But the point was not a point, it was a doorway opening both inwards and outwards. Though I had thought to rest there for ever, I could not do so for long, since my deepest feelings pulled me. So pushing gently inwards I passed through the doorway and went in.

Then it was if I had walked onto the palm of the hand of my God, who had now become my great friend. The palm of His hand was as the most sensitive place in his heart might be. It was tenderly aware and responsive, so that I stopped still in case I should hurt it.

In some strange way the hand was the heart and it extended beyond my understanding in all directions unto the fingers. While the palm of this great hand was content to be at rest, as I was, the fingers had a longing in them to express the nature that was the heart of the hand. The place that had been a doorway had now become like a whole country opened from within...

Then go up to this house. He will ask you in and She will greet you there. Father and Mother of us all, dwelling in a valley of the hills that are not, but are the hand that is the heart always. From this place their spirit never moves and in this place is the measure of all things kept safely. But you may go in and touch direct the uttermost. Then you will have the foundation about you you did not know to need. It remains in the smile there and all things are borne up by it. This is what is served to every friend who comes...

With a voice that needed no sound, my friend spoke through the whole of the vast country. His hand and His fingers were full of the expression of each word. The fingers not only held fast the treasure of the hand, but they were also the means of discovery. The spirit of this discovery was in need of companions, and I could be such a companion. For that which remained to be discovered lay out beyond the finger-tips of God's person in a larger reality of being...

Long would be the telling of this aching hand whose heart shall hold friends and teach the art to many in that country that cannot be said, between whose spirits the potency of difference so gladly spreads to uncover and display a growth to all things new.

From The Hand of God by William Arkle

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/poems/handofgod.html

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The Hand of God Prose-Poem - excerpted above - strikes me as an account of William Arkle's prime and (as it seems to me ) genuinely revelatory vision; which contains the compressed essence of his message, which he elaborated over a period of decades in various different forms - through prose narratives - factual and fictional, poetry, paintings, music, and (especially in the 1974 book A Geography of Consciousness) formal geometric/ engineering/ scientific/ philosophical analogies.

So the above excerpt contains:

The belief that we are in the hand of God (the theme of multiple paintings)

Then the idea of a Mother in Heaven, as well as a Father


Then the key to all the elaborations - that the creator Father (and Heavenly Mother) wanted more than anything to have children who might grow towards divinity and eventually choose to become friends (in an extremely elevated sense of that word) with their Heavenly Father (and Mother).


The whole of creation is then set up with that purpose in mind. 

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This matter of a Heavenly Mother is perhaps the most striking to Mainstream Christians, and is one of those undecided aspects of Mormonism.

Many Mormons believe there is a Heavenly Mother - who is our Mother in Heaven (some used to and a few probably still do believe there were several Heavenly Mothers), and this including Presidents of the Church and Apostles.

The divine parenthood is included in the language of that major (and wonderful) policy statement The Family: a Proclamation to the World - "Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents...".

Yet, this is not an official doctrine, nor from a specific church-wide revelation, nor a required belief; and it is specifically prohibited to pray to or worship Heavenly Mother (She is not regarded as equivalent to Heavenly Father).

Mormons are therefore free to believe in our Mother in Heaven, or not.

So what do I think, personally? 

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I am not certain. Initially I believed in Mother in Heaven, then I found I did not (regarding God the Father as solitary and eternal before having children - God the Father as unique exception to the need for divine marriage.

Now I am inclined to believe again that we do have divine parents, although I am uncertain (and incurious) about the origin of Heavenly Mother.

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(My tentative theory is that all pre-existent spirits are either male or female; and the first thing God the Father and primary creator did (as a male) was to take a pre-existent female spirit and endowed her with divinity. She always had and continued to have autonomous agency (free will) and they both chose eternal celestial marriage and became the primal parents - all other personages being their children.)

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Also, I have found that Arkle's revelatory vision have enhanced my confidence that there is a Heavenly Mother - because:

1. I regard his primary and basic vision as a valid revelation (although I do not find all his elaborations and extrapolations and systematization to be compelling).

2. I see not the slightest sign that Arkle had any knowledge of Mormonism; yet his basic vision seems strikingly convergent with Mormonism - so his witness of a Heavenly Mother looks to me like independent corroboration.  

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Having made that decision to believe, I find that it makes my heart leap with joy!

(Yet also a kind of fear and caution that I may be believing from self-gratification, and a fear of the contradictions with Mainstream Christianity.)

Yet the joy wins - and the simple symmetry between Mortal and Divine parents is a lovely thing.


Impersonal Eastern Religions 


 
Letter from a Father - has the character of God trying to explain his purposes to us.

I will add bold emphasis to highlight the striking points. Excisions are marked ...

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http://www.billarkle.co.uk/prose/letterfromafather.html

In the beginning before time was, your mother and I had a longing in our heart to share our values and the substance of our being with others who could rejoice and be glad about them as we are glad about them. So we considered how we could do this.

We realised that to make living beings directly and ready formed was one way, and to make the seeds of this, and plant them in a situation which would cause them to grow in their own way, as a gradual process, was another.

There were two things we had to bear in mind. We had to decide how important to us it was that these children were real and not remotely controlled puppets. And we had to decide how we could guide and teach them what we knew they would have to learn without them losing the position of judgement for themselves over the values which we already knew to be good. 

We ... would have to be careful not to dominate them too much or we would destroy their individual differences and the integrity of their reality. But we also understood that they would have to grow into a certain type of person if they were going to be able to understand what we had to show them and give to them.

And of course we realised that they would begin their growth as our children, but that what we really longed for was not that they should be our children, but that they should slowly mature and become our companions and friends.

For our longing was to share this undemanding gladness in other centres of being who were in harmony with us but who were truly independent individuals to us. We understood this relationship to be the most delightful, and one which was open to endless variations, and these variations seemed to us of the greatest value since they had an absolute creative context between them.

In order that your being should mature slowly and fully, we had to think of a way to bring experience to you which would awaken you without overwhelming you, and in the process of awakening you enable you all to become different in your individual ways. As you already know, the quality of wholehearted affection and the quality of integrity or stability were two of the qualities most important to understand. Knowledge, both factual and of qualities, was also a part of this. 

... the individuality of your own being was of the essence of the matter from the very beginning. You were the one who was eventually to become aware of your own uniqueness and individual value, and you were to learn to carry the responsibility that goes with this gift.

We, most of all, felt as our deepest and dearest wish, when the time came that you understood what it was that we had undertaken on your behalf, that you would be glad, and choose to take up this option we have offered to you as our most loving gift, and live together with us as your friends and helpers.

But, as you know, in the case of friendship, the relationship between the two sides must be one of perfect balance and understanding and has to be freely and spontaneously taken up and maintained.

Therefore our purpose was to bring you to a stage in your experience when you could understand what we were offering as friends, but we had to arrange for you to have an alternative open to you, for friendship and love cannot be thrust upon people or they cease to be real.

Now, if you will follow me carefully I will try to explain what the alternative was. If you have understood that our personal love and friendship was one way for you to take, then our impersonal eternal being was another way for you to take if you so chose

In both cases you would come to eternal life, as this was the basis of our gift, but if you did not notice or did not respond to our personal nature, then you must be in a position where you could respond to all the qualities that we hold to be valuable but which do not involve our own personal love or friendship, thus uniting with our impersonal aura or being, which is itself bathed in love. 

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The striking idea I get from this is that the 'impersonal' religions we think of as 'Eastern' - Hinduism, Buddhism and the like - religions which lack a personal God - can be conceptualized from our Christian perspective as not so much wrong as incomplete.

Or, they are religions deriving from the choice of accepting God as an eternal impersonal being; instead of accepting the offer of a relationship with God - in which God is a personage.

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Thus God actually is a personage, who wants more than anything to have a loving (familial, friendly) relationship with us persons; but since a loving relationship must be chosen, there is an alternative (there must be an alternative); and the alternative (for benignly disposed people) is as good a God can contrive.

The alternative is one of us of choosing not to regard God as a person but instead choosing to regard God as an impersonal entity: an eternal force or tendency or influence.

This is, in effect, to choose to regard God in terms of what he does, rather than what he is.

Arkle's notion here is that this is, in fact, a path to 'salvation' - that is, a path to eternal life; but to an eternal life of a qualitatively different, and non-personal, kind.

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Perhaps I like this so much because it chimes with my idea that all religions are essentially honest about what they offer: all religions deliver on their promises.

'Eastern' religions claim to deliver an impersonal kind of immortality, aspire to destruction or dissolving of the self and of attachments, regard reality as essentially im-personal and therefore regard personality as delusion, a drag, a trap. Life is suffering, consciousness is suffering - both to be escaped-from, as an ideal. 

Adherents of 'Eastern' religions want to dissolve or destroy their own personality, and do not want a personal God - and perhaps God gives them what they want; and does not give them what they do not want.

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Something similar was said about 'paganism' (and all other religions) by CS Lewis, that they were glimpses or partial forms of Christianity - but Arkle's idea is that the 'Eastern' impersonal path was actually provided by God, as an alternative and valid - albeit lower - form of salvation.

The Eastern path is less than what God wants for us; but is nonetheless a gift from God to those who believe in God and in Goodness; but who choose not to accept the highest gift. These are not punished, but generously allowed to have what they most wish for. 

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NOTE ADDED: Perhaps the reason that this idea resonated immediately with me, is that God the Father must (surely?) be at least as loving towards his children as I am to mine. On this basis, if the children of a loving God chose to decline or reject His offer of a continuing and developing personal relationship after death (and denied His fatherhood and/or personhood) I assume He would nonetheless certainly try to fix things so that His children might live after death in a relatively benign - albeit impersonal - kind of existence - in fact the best existence that they could be induced to choose. It is a sad fact that we children so often refuse to choose our Father's best offer. 


The Will versus Will-Power

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William Arkle's Geography of Consciousness (1974) is so densely written that it is extremely difficult to understand - so it was only yesterday that I grasped the meaning of Chapter Sixteen The Will - and recognised that (without mentioning the term) it provided an explanation for a phenomenon which so interests me: Synchronicity.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=synchronicity

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My previous understanding was very general and external - that synchronicity was an indirect form of evidence for the reality of a personal God since it implied that 'the universe' was being 'arranged' such that I experienced certain events of special significance.

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Arkle's explanation is related to a contrast between The Will versus Will Power.

Will Power is taken in its usual secular and common sense definition, and interpreted as the use of normal psychological disciplines to attain a particular goal.

Will power is a matter of 'getting what we want or believe we need'; it is a matter of strategically using our mind, understanding, predictive ability, force and manipulations to attain an objective.

Will Power may or may not achieve what it sets out to achieve - but it is essentially an attempt to impose ourselves upon the world; and therefore extremely prone to be evil in motivation and effect.

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The Will is something altogether different in its nature and operation. It is our true, higher, individual Self; that contains an element of, and is in communication with, God.

Therefore The Will is a source of the power strength, and purpose of God as this specifically applies to our (real) selves.

The Will is therefore necessarily good, and (being divine) this good is harmonised with the good of all other things.

We have no conscious power to influence The Will by a strategic decision - any more than we could change God's will; we can only recognise The Will, and choose either to accept or to reject it.

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Mostly we choose to ignore or reject The Will, and instead attempt to impose our false selves upon the world by Will Power.

And mostly this is un-successful - and this failure is both necessary and fortunate as the results of success would be disastrous to ourselves and to others (including the whole environment).

When (as is usual) the Will Power goes against The Will; The Will 'sabotages' our plans, by all kinds of means including psychological sabotage, but not confined to that - since The Will is divine it has power to influence other things in the environment - leading to what may be termed 'bad luck' but is actually a necessary failure to get what we want, because what we want is opposed to what God wants, and therefore creation is 'weighted against us'.

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But a person who knows, accepts and lives by The Will (in however brief and incomplete a fashion) finds the opposite - he finds that not only his own mind (mental powers) but also 'things in general' cooperate in ways that are good.

This includes genuine synchronicity - which is a consequence of harmony between ourselves and our environment working towards the good, caused by The Will spontaneously (over time) reproducing in our surroundings 'a drama which represents the significance of our being': i.e. synchronicity, or 'meaningful coincidence' (as we interpret it).

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By this account synchronicity is mostly an operation of God-within-us, rather than a situation created by God's power external to us. It is evidence of a truly vast and intrinsically good power - a divine power of subtle harmonisation that we may recognise (or reject); but which it is impossible for us to control, exploit or 'use' to achieve our personal desires.

This also explains divine providence, that sense of God's Will working in the world (but only with our chosen cooperation) can make situations that seem like a near-incredible 'good fortune' by a sequence of apparent 'luck'.

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This may be the explanation for Great Men (in religion, theology, politics, arts, sciences etc.) who are (who 'happen to be') in the right place at the right time, and whose (small) decisions and acts are amplified (by invisible processes) to have vast consequences.

Arkle's example is Winston Churchill; whose personal qualities in the role of Prime Minister during the Battle of Britain were a consequence of extraordinary sequences of 'luck' - with world historical consequences.

"If you are a Churchill, you make a few small noises into a microphone, and you set forces in motion in people's natures which make all the difference..."

The lesson is that if we want real power in life, like Churchill, or the Greats in other domains of life; then this can be had only by renouncing Will Power, and embracing The Will.

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We tend to suppose that the 'main problem' of life is 'amplifying our voices' - using force, cunning, chance to make the world take notice of what we think is important; but this is the false self at work deploying Will Power.

When the true self, The Will, is at work comes a recognition that our proper main problem, something that only we can do, is to recognise and nurture our true self, our highest consciousness which contains and harmonises with the divine.

And insofar as this achieved (and whether we know this is happening or not, and whether we are personally credited with it or not) the goodness of a true self in higher consciousness will quite easily and quite naturally be 'amplified' and propagated by innumerable instances of 'luck', sequences of meaningful coincidences: synchronicities.
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The Divine Father and Mother


Explanation by William Arkle :



Describing, in the most simple way, the profoundly attentive love that is constantly expressed towards each of God's children.

In this case we see the little human on earth, standing alone and unafraid before his inner realisation of this beautiful attitude of God. He feels the nature of love to be both as a mother and a father towards him, and that such love is not concerned with any difference in size between his nature and the much more mature nature of God.


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The Parents


Explanation by William Arkle


Depicting our Divine Father and Mother in an ethereal form and yet close to the earth, where they are looking upon a human father and mother on the banks of the river.

The children of the human parents are seen playing among the rocks beyond them. The purpose of the painting is to express the attitude of parental love that comes to us from our God, and also to describe the fact that our own children bear to us the same relationship which we bear to our Divine Parents.

This is of particular interest when we realise that all the relationships of love and responsibility we experience in bringing up our children on earth are a small scale replica of the problems and difficulties and joys that our God has in bringing us to life.

Such an important part of this life we are being given is the reality and strength of our own individual duality, which can only be given us if God leaves us with real freedom in which we can make real mistakes. And so we discover the same understanding in our earthly family situation. We know we have got to let go of the guidance and discipline we exercise over our children as they grow to an age when they must take their reality upon themselves.

The experience of being both a child and a parent on earth is thus one of the most profound forms of teaching which the Creator has arranged for us to experience, and we will find within those experiences the answer to most of the great enigmas of life.




From:
http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/pictureseq/fset003.html

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Note: To add a further layer to the analogy between the mortal family and the divine family, my understanding is that the models used for the Father and Mother, and The Parents were William Arkle's own son and daughter.
 

*

Time and Being

*
From A Geography of Consciousness (1974) by William Arkle - pages 88-90

The Absolute [Real] Self is in a position... to experience and express the highest qualities and attitudes without distortion or compromise, for the nature of matter-consciousness at this level is extremely fine, responsive and vital; and almost devoid of the density and friction which is associated with physical matter. The experience of existence at this level of manifestation must consequently be blissful, exhilarating and free...

Since time is the result of friction, viscosity and inertia which results in opposition to movement, communication and adaptability; and since the actual experience of time as it comes to us is the same experience as space; it is the essential content of movement and the experience of movement.

If we, at the physical level, cut ourselves off from all movement in the world about us, we will cease to get any sense impressions and shortly experience the feeling of 'being' as distinct from 'living'.

This sense of being, without time or space considerations, is close to the true condition of Absolute consciousness. For a while, we still get some sense of continuing identity in some form of time sequence; this time sequence is not linked to anything which we can identify.

The result of this experience is that we are made more aware than usual of the fact that innermost consciousness is concerned with qualities and attitudes which it has to learn to generate on its own without outside stimulus. When it has learned to do this, it has also learned to be truly creative, and may be said to be a god.

*

I interpret this passage as describing how - in thought but not in practice, in consciousness but detached from 'the world' - we may glimpse and actually experience what it is like to be further advanced in the process variously described as spiritual progression, theosis or divinization.

Such knowledge is motivating and inspiring; and may be necessary in order that we know where we are going, what direction to aim-at, and how to recognize progress when we achieve it.

*

I also find Arkle's descriptions of the nature of time (the result of friction, viscosity and inertia) and 'spiritual' matter (extremely fine, responsive and vital) - and their relation (the actual experience of time as it comes to us is the same experience as space) to be useful, and valid-seeming. They are similar to the accounts of Joseph Smith - representing another convergence/ mutual validation of Arkle with Mormon metaphysics.

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The proper attitude to God


*



For those who do not respond to the Personal reality of the Creator, the system of schoolroom environments continues in the same way as it does for the ‘believers’. The value of the growth situations is real to them, and the friendship relationships can flourish between them and their fellows. 


The exception to this latter situation are those who are trying to give up the individual stance of the individual spirit in the belief that it is a hindrance to their full enlightenment, which consists of ‘being God’, rather than ‘being a god’. 


In the sayings of Jesus for instance, there are many references to us being gods, but never a reference to us being God. The distinction is always clearly drawn between our identity as individual children and the idea of God as a Father, who is a Person in His own right. 


...But we must not become too concerned to know more of the activity of our God than He wishes to show us, or else we may fail to actualise our true Self on its own terms. So we must be delighted with the opportunities to taste of the flavour of God’s Personality, but not become obsessed by the idea of God to the exclusion of all else.


For if we understood the summit of love to be friendship, in the way of equality and mutual valuing, then an excessive clinging to God would rather cause Him to retreat a pace than come closer to us.


However, a drowning man clings desperately, but the drowning situation is not normal and will not last for ever. When the drowning person feels spiritually safe again, he will then be able to let go his grip and realise that it is no longer necessary or helpful.


During the rescue period on earth, there is much desperate clinging and this is of course understood and allowed for. But, as we move into a more mature phase of our schooling, a totally different understanding of religious purpose will help us to know it more in terms of education and growth.


**


Notes:


One aspect of William Arkle's thought which I found at first surprising, but has eventually convinced me, is his argument that if God's plan for Man is that we should grow to become God's friends then this has implications for how we should (ideally) regard Him and address Him. 


(I should make clear that for Arkle, this idea of divine 'friendship' is the highest imaginable kind of relationship between two beings.) 


In other words, if the reason behind God wanting us to become 'gods', that is divinized as resurrected and perfected Sons of Gods, is that at least some of us might at some time become sufficiently like him that we could be friends; then we should consider what this tells us about how God might want us to regard and address him. 


*


Since God is our Heavenly Father - we can consider how an earthly father might hope that his children should regard and address him - especially if that earthly father's wish was for his sons and daughters to grow into unique and developed personalities who would at some point undergo a transition from child dependent to adult 'friend'. 


Taking this perspective, it seems clear to me that a good father would hope for love of course, and also respect and due deference - but not 'worship', submission, abasement, grovelling or anything of that sort - which would more appropriate to a tyrant than to a father.


This suggests to me that some forms of liturgy, prayer and meditative address may (indirectly, inadvertently, unintentionally) have the effect of limiting and perhaps even blocking our relationship with God - preventing us from regarding Him as our Father.  


*


A second point Arkle makes in this passage is that, since we are intended to become God's friends,it is not enough for us to be obsessed with the idea of God to the exclusion of everything else. 


This is a startling point, because implies that 'self-actualisation'- development of our selves as unique individuals - is not a self-indulgence but a duty, an essential purpose in life. 


I infer that this means that God does not want us to do nothing-but pray, meditate, and humble ourselves by comparison with Him; God does not want us to cling desperately to Him - obsession and clinging sometimes is unavoidable, necessary and appropriate; but this is not God's hope, or goal or highest aspiration for us.


We should, if possible, be trying to do more. 


* 
God's motivation for creation


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From "Wisdom" in The Great Gift by William Arkle, 1977




My understanding of this absolute form of wisdom depends on an ability I believe we have to resonate with the deep heart of our being into the deep heart of the Creator's being and feel, with that very deep sense of in-feeling, how the Creator felt towards creation before it began.


In other words one can learn to feel what it was that the Creator was longing for, aspiring to, or simply desiring, from the great work and the great effort that he has engaged in in what is known to us as creation.


Now, if we can feel with all our deepest understanding, our deepest intelligence and our deepest perception, what it was that the Creator looked for, above all else, in creation, then, and only then, shall we be close to the absolute point of wisdom which I believe is in the absolute point of deepest desire in the heart of the Creator's being.



As I myself attempt to do this, I come away with the understanding that the greatest longing that was in the Creator's heart before creation, and which brought about creation and brought into existence the individual beings, who each of us is in the Creator's eyes and to one another, was the desire to have real individual friends, in the deepest possible meaning of that word.


Friends to share his understanding, his joy and his wisdom within the context of real friendship, which creates a vital relationship between each friend and the other friend, from which ever-renewing possibilities and responses can grow.


My feeling is that the Creator first of all wished to bring into existence real and individual children, whose nature was based on a part of his own divine nature, but the characteristics of which were to be developed by each of those individual children as they grew up in the universes, or the universities, of his creation. They would develop in the nature of their own individual spirits, so that each of those children would become a unique individual child and then, hopefully, would become more than a child - would wish to grow into a mature condition which was not as a child to the Creator, but was as an individual being to the Creator.


Thus all these beings could each have creative relationships of friendship and gladness with one another and with the Creator. Not with the Creator as a special 'God' individual, who was not approachable as other friends are approachable, but He himself wanted to be able to befriend us and have a creative friendship with us as we befriend one another and have a creative friendship with one another.


*



This is one of several phrasing's of William Arkle's fundamental and much-needed insight - which he got through personal revelation; since understanding this early in 2014, I have found it to be wonderfully helpful and clarifying.

*


*

The Paradox of Meditation


by William Arkle


We may think of meditation as a deliberate way of turning our attention and our nature to those aspects of our being which are neglected by the materialistic society in which we live.

In a spiritually healthy society this would be done naturally in the way that our attention is drawn to subjects like maths, history and science at school. There is some attention to religion but subjects such as spirituality and holism are generally not backed by serious study or serious attitude, but instead treated with conventional politeness.

When we meditate we are trying to support and nourish the higher frequency aspects of our nature and trying to climb out of the prison of fear, ego, doubt, anger and life denial that materialism brings in its wake.

Instinctively we seek to do our meditation, contemplation and quiet attention in places which are least distracting for spiritual nourishment. Some environments are not only distracting but can be positively helpful.

But, from the initial purpose of balancing out materialism, meditation should become an intrinsic part of our own individual nature, so that it would be a different thing to different people and something that changes for them continually as they grow and move within themselves.

We should then add to this the fact that the purpose of our living can be understood to be the gathering of wise appreciation of all the principles involved. We can call this the maturing of our spirit towards our inherent godlikeness or divinity.

This understanding is acquired through the friction which occurs within us through conflicting experience of all sorts. It is only through first hand knowledge of these opposites that our inner understanding is able to grasp the wisdom and understanding of God for itself.

So we can say that through meditation we can achieve a balanced view of the spiritual while engaged with the material life.

We may also say that unless we confront and integrate these two aspects of our nature with one another we will not produce the often painful fires that are necessary for the distillation of real growth and wisdom within ourselves.

Consequently I find myself saying that what we refer to as meditation will eventually have to become an integral part of those aspects of life which at first seem most foreign to it.

Meditation can also be used as a word to define the extraction of our own significance and purpose from life but is also the concentrated attention required to know the significance of life itself.

Here lies the paradox, for this concentrated attention is not the same sort of attention that we started with and it seems that we must expect to change everything as we move along.

http://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/newsletters/2009_feb.pdf

*

I record this little essay of William Arkle's mostly as a web duplicate (in case the publishing website goes down) and as containing some distilled insight from someone who meditated deeply and profoundly in a Christian context.

Thus, the purposes of meditation are many-fold - below I extract from the above essay, and add my comments in non-italics:

1.  to support and nourish the higher frequency aspects of our nature - thus, meditation ought to be an experience of a more divine mode of experiencing.

2. trying to climb out of the prison of fear, ego, doubt, anger and life denial - thus, meditation ought to be a therapy and refuge from the sufferings of life.

3. a balanced view of the spiritual while engaged with the material life - thus, meditation should be a part of life, not the whole of life - material life and meditation are complementary and ideally life would consist of both.

4. extraction of our own significance and purpose from life - thus, meditation is about looking within ourselves and attaining to knowledge our ourselves.

5. the concentrated attention required to know the significance of life itself - thus, meditation is also about looking outwith ourselves; at our situation, context - ultimately the 'cosmology' of the ultimate human condition - the basic 'set-up' of our lives.

6. meditation will eventually have to become an integral part of those aspects of life which at first seem most foreign to it - this, I do not fully understand, probably because...

7. Meditation would be a different thing to different people and something that changes for them continually as they grow - thus, there cannot be a template or blueprint for the practice of meditation. Presumably, this means that there must be the usual process of trial-and-error in learning the best way to meditate for ourselves and at our particular stage of growth or degeneration.

*


A loving personal relationship with God cannot be coerced, therefore Hell cannot be the only alternative to Heaven
*



A passage from William Arkle's mini-book Equations of Being (excerpt posted below) evoked some thoughts about salvation. Although I have not previously encountered the argument, I find the logic compelling.

*

Our personal loving relationship with God (with Jesus Christ) must be freely chosen - otherwise it is not love; and therefore this personal relationship cannot be imposed under duress.

Therefore there cannot be a straight either/or dichotomy between Christ and Hell: it cannot be either a personal relationship with Christ; or else eternal torment in Hell if you reject this. (Because that would be coercion.)

(I say 'cannot', because I find it inconceivable that our loving God would have set things up like that - with salvation as a pseudo-choice; the opposite of a real choice.)

Therefore there must be a kind of salvation which does not entail a personal relationship with Christ (this would be a lesser salvation for sure, but salvation nonetheless); and this salvation will be impersonal - will not involve a personal relationship with God.

So there must be at least three alternatives: Heaven, Hell and some Impersonal (yet 'pleasant') form of eternal life. 

*

Such a lesser, impersonal but real salvation might perhaps be understood as broadly corresponding with the description of lower Heaven/s in Mormonism, or with the states of static, blissful, impersonal enlightenment of 'Eastern Religions'.


**

[emphasis and paragraphing added]

...we are here introduced to another very important decision which our Creator had to reach in regard to His responsibility towards His children and pupils.

We have been led by much of religious thinking on Earth to the belief that our love for our God, in the individual sense, was the only way to eternal life in the Divine Society.

But, if we look closely at this, we will see that, here again, our Creators hands were tied. For, if He made the ‘personal’ love between Himself and His children a condition of their obtaining everlasting life, then this would be an improper pressure placed upon love and friendship, which may well force it into a distorted and unwholesome attitude.

It is over just this most tender and intimate relationship of real loving friendship that our responses must be most completely free, or else the great treasure is once again lost.           

*

But if we now realise that there is another area of Divine Reality, which is not represented to us by the Person of God, but rather by the impersonal Divine qualities, we can see that it is possible for us to reach a state of ‘impersonal’ integration with the one Divine Life in respect of the collective features in it and in us.

In this way, the impersonal in us can love and unite with the impersonal in the Divine, thus giving a real and valid choice to ‘the way’ in which we endeavour to enter eternal life.

*

This spectrum of approaches will then free our Creator from the abuse of His friendship, if it were the sole condition of our survival.

This is not to say that our Creator will not be sad in each case when His friendship is not noticed and valued, and is thus by-passed. But He must accept this as another equation of the total reality of Being in which His work has to be accomplished.

*

In these cases, where individuality and friendship is not chosen as ‘the way’ to eternal life, but eradication of individuality or the Divine Ego is considered to be the highest achievement, the entity, while being harmonised back into the Absolute, may, nevertheless, be brought forth again in some other scheme of creation in which the presentation of ‘personal’ value is done in such a way that it is then chosen.

[Arkle is here implying reincarnation - but it could equally be taken to imply some form of post-mortal spiritual progression.]

For, while those who see the value of the friend can also appreciate the impersonal aspect of life, those who see the way to be impersonal find it very difficult to appreciate the more personal end of the spectrum of life, and they are thus inclined to lose sight of the creativity and on-going purpose behind our Creators motivation.

from William Arkle - Equations of Being

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/prose/equations/chap06.html

*

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


*

I am pondering the work of William Arkle -

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/

by fitting his ideas into my existing scheme of understanding, where they seem to explicate, enrich and expand some vital elements.

*

My understanding is that - thanks to the work of Jesus Christ - salvation is ours if we choose it; and the main purpose of Man's mortal life is 'theosis' - becoming more like God.

This entails following God's rules - because they are a summary of the intrinsic constraints of reality - but beyond that our job of theosis is creative (recalling that all creativity is within a framework).

Arkle's (strange) terminology has this in terms of a divine friendship. The main motivation God had for making Man was to have friends - and with this end he seeded sparks of his divine fire into each Man - this inner spark is then 'surrounded' by the products of our own choices and efforts.

But Men need to grow and develop to become loving friends of God (first commandment) - and the mortal context is loving family and other humans (second commandment). The growth and development are essential if we are to be real and distinct individuals, and not just clones or copies (because we want our eternal friends each to be different, and each also to continually develop, to grow).

*

So we are to 'make' ourselves into friends of God and assist in the 'making' of other friends for God (and ourselves) - this is Arkle's way of explaining theosis in down-to-earth terms.

So theosis is this creative project (within constraints of reality) to choose and grow into divine friends of God. It almost-inevitably involves trial and error, but the experiences of temptations, and even errors, will be educative if they are unintended and repented.

Thinking of theosis as creative opens-up a positive an engaged attitude to life; and emphasises that the 'perfection' of mortal life is in its striving and growth towards a nature both divine and distinctive - not in its freedom from error nor conformity to a pattern.

*

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014


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Most, almost-all, the dreams that we remember are those which occur in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, such that this type of sleep is termed Dreaming Sleep. By contrast, Deep Sleep is usually recalled as dreamless, and when someone is woken from it (difficult) and does recall dream content, it is conceptually simple, slow, non-narrative.

Yet, I have come to believe that it is these slow, simple dreams of Deep Sleep which really matter, while the narrative dreams REM sleep are nearly always trivial.

I need a new name for the 'dreams' of Deep Sleep - because they are so different from REM dreams. I propose Slow Motion Segment - because although the Deep Sleep content is very simple and may be in words, emotions, or any other domain; when the 'dream' is visual it is not really static  - not like a picture - but more like a slow motion segment of video - like a second of waking time, stretched-out and its inner workings and evolution examined in incredible detail.

So, just as the release of the cricket ball from a bowler's fingers (or a baseball from the pitcher's fingers) can barely be seen in real time (taking only thousandths of a second), in 'super slo-mo', the extraordinary and evolving, interacting intricacies of finger, wrist and arm movement can easily be observed: that is a metaphor for what goes-on in the 'dreams' of Deep Sleep. 

*

I have read many, many accounts of dreams - in all sorts of writings from the psychoanalytic, through the scientific, to the personal; and people have told me their dreams, and of course I have my own dreams... and the overwhelming impression is that dream content is nearly-always (but not always) trivial, emotionally-shallow, and lacking in serious significance.

REM dreams, by and large, are not a profound message awaiting decoding, they are at the level of a TV soap opera - sometimes emotionally sensational in a manipulative sort of way, but ultimately just froth: 'chewing gum for the mind".

But Deep Sleep is the most therapeutic, recreative and necessary form of sleep - despite that its mental contents are apparently not explicitly accessible. We are only indirectly aware of the consequences of Deep Sleep - seldom of the goings-son: we feel the difference that Deep Sleep makes, but are seldom aware of what made than difference.

*

Meditation is, or should be, about linking-up the conscious mind with the slow, simple and significant world of Deep Sleep - and not with the flashy trivialities of REM sleep - which lead merely to hallucinations, delusions and other delirious phenomena.

The content of meditation is not supposed to be like a REM dream, but more like a Slow Motion Sequence - an examination and experience of something tiny and apparently-fragmentary that waking life would barely notice, it would flash-by in an instant; but which is revealed as rich and significant and enlightening.

*

This means that when a mystic reports his visionary experience derived from this Deep Sleep type of meditation, he will be using the language of waking consciousness to describe what was perhaps a tiny and apparently insignificant moment of awake time, and will have to contextualise, elaborate and interpolate details in order to make sense of the Slow Motion Segment.

Indeed, this is, I think, why Deep Sleep and Visionary and Meditative and Inspirational and Revelatory experiences are seldom explicitly remembered (they are remembered by the effect, rather than by their content) - the awake time-scale is so extremely different from the experiential timescale of Deep Sleep.

I would say, many hundreds of times slower; so that Deep Sleep might spend an hour of awake time (as measured in the 'real world) examining the inward workings and implications of one experienced second of Deep Sleep dreaming...

*

So to take a revelatory vision such as William Arkle's Hand of God

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-vision-of-william-arkle-question-of.html

My belief is that the actual vision which underlay the written account was probably of the nature of a slow motion segment - a short, visual and emotional experience, which was known in extraordinary detail - but which can only be recalled and described in narrative language of the type we associate with the awake state and REM sleep.

*

I think this is also what happens in inspiration - for example in science. A very simple, short segment - known intuitively in rich inner detail - is what provides the insight, and not an extended explicit narrative: I am thinking of the simple visions of Kekule's Benzene Rings symbolised by ouroboros snakes with tail in mouth, or Szilard's Eureka moment about nuclear fission as a traffic light changed to green.

*

What about those relatively rare examples of REM sleep dreams which are experienced as significant: Jung's Archetypal, Mythic or Great dreams. I suppose that these are a combination of normal narrative dreams of REM sleep, with an incursion of Deep Sleep and its Slow Motion Segments - so that, as it were, the trivial REM dream story suddenly slows down a hundredfold, and becomes extremely detailed, reveals great profundities: an epiphanic moment showing 'the world in a grain of sand'.

*

These reflections came to me while pondering the prophecies of Isaiah from the Old Testament (and Book of Mormon); and how obscure yet significant they seem to the waking mind.

If we can suppose Isaiah having true revelations, yet needing to translate these into the shallow, trivial, fast moving world of everyday life - we can imagine that he hit upon a poetic method, in that lyrical poetry can condense vast meanings into few words.

(Perhaps this is, indeed, the primary 'function' of poetry in the human condition?)

There is the problem of translating poetry, and translating between an ancient society and a modern one is also difficult (some say impossible) - but in a divinely-inspired version such as the Authorised/ King James Bible, when being read in a proper spirit - the meanings will be there even for the modern and English speaking reader/ meditator; at least, to those able and willing to attune poetically, and not 'literally'- and thereby to intuit vast depth and detail from few words: words that can unpack hours from seconds.

*

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


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Transcribed and edited/expanded from the question time following a lecture by William Arkle given on March 16th 1992 to a group in Yeovil

From about 1:30 at:

http://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/digital_08.html

**

The secret is to have faith in the quality, the feeling, the beauty of this Great Person up there. 

And once you have grasped that with your faith, then you will start to understand within yourself the sort of thing that person would be trying to give to you; which is the greatest thing that He can possibly give you.

You have something in you which can give you exactly that essential faith. And that something is a little spark of God's own divine flame.

It is there.

To understand that God's own divine flame is there in you, is the most vital component of what you need to know about this process of mortal life; because once you can read that inner spark of God for yourself, then you can get all the necessary answers for yourself: and then your faith grows into certainty

*

References:

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=arkle

**

Note added:

I believe this is a vital teaching for many modern Christians - that we have something divine (a spark) in each of us, something of God; that we can learn to 'read' that inner spark and to feel the validity of its guidance; and that this inner divinity and our responsiveness to its truth is the basis of anything we may hope for.

Mainstream Christians often neglect, or even deny, the divinity within Man; and downplay the Scriptural teachings on our destiny (should we accept it) to become Sons of God. These scriptural teachings are neglected, denied and downplayed because of fear that people will misunderstand this; that the idea of inner divinity will lead to pride and rejection of the need for the salvation of Christ, that it may prevent repentance of sin.

These are, of course, real risks or possibilities - but there is no risk-free route through life. And it is just plain factually true that we have aspects of God in us, or else we could not be saved, we could not choose salvation, we could not become Sons of God. 

Modern people crave certainty, and this craving is stimulated and then used against them by prevalent secular Leftism - but misdirected to exclude Christianity and to lead people down into nihilism and hope-less-ness.

But certainly is available (and, with it, hope) once it is understood that certainty is inner; certainty is subjective (my certainty is not your certainty - my certainty is not communicable to you, nor is it intended to be communicable - certainty is something each must find for himself); and when it is recognized that certainty is not to be found anywhere in the world but instead it dwells in the heart and therefore must be sought in the heart - and indeed will be found in the heart.

**

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Monday, 9 June 2014


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This question was brought to the fore for me by my recent engagement with William Arkle and by a much more superficial recent overview of the life and works of Rudolf Steiner - both of whom (despite their very obvious heterodoxies and heresies) saw themselves as Christian, and both of whom (to all appearances) seem genuinely inspired and enlightened (albeit imperfect) men, and also good men.

And both believed in reincarnation - partly from what they perceived to be logical necessity, but also from what they believed to be divine revelations.

*

There are also many other - and much more famous and influential - religious figures who put great emphasis on reincarnation. The founders of Hinduism and Buddhism to name only the two largest; but probably most humans who have ever lived believed in some version of reincarnation, as well as many or most of the greatest religious founders and leaders. .

Given that reincarnation is not a part of core Christian revelation - and seems hardly likely to have been forgotten or left-out by mistake - then how to account for this belief?

Perhaps the most frequent explanation throughout Christian history would be that these are demonic deceptions, designed to manipulate mankind into a state of unrepented sin. But looking at the big picture of these religious figures and of the vast mass of their adherents, makes this seem implausible.

*

One possibility is that the religious leaders, who believe that they have been given a revelation of reincarnation, are correct: but only with respect to themselves.

In other words, reincarnation is a possibility - with some examples being given in the Bible - but it sees to be a rare exception rather than the norm or the rule.

*

In other words, perhaps these inspired spiritual men - such as Steiner and Arkle - are actually themselves among the rare instances of reincarnation; or else are destined to be?

Perhaps they recognise this fact, but mistakenly (but not maliciously) extrapolate it to the mass of other people for whom mortal life is a one-off - and teach it to these people (for whom reincarnation is not, in fact, true) - and these people often accept it due to the genuine spiritual authority of the teachers.

*

For instance, if someone is himself a reincarnate, then it may be one reason for his advanced spiritual state - he has had more than one life-time to progress, a greater experience; and has consented to return and teach from this enlarged experience.

So these spiritual teachers are indeed (perhaps) reincarnated souls; and they have a particular reason for being reincarnated; but once re-born they are subject to the usual constraints of mortal earthly life; so, although spiritually-advanced, they remain imperfect and prone to both error and sin - including the error (but not necessarily sin) of over-generalising from their own case.

(Indeed, the over-generalising error may plausibly result from humility - the reincarnate perhaps cannot believe his almost unique status and elevated destiny.)

Anyway, for what it is worth, this struck me as a possible - and in some ways satisfying - explanation for the recurrence of the reincarnation idea in a Christian context.

**

Note added: Not all the people who believe in and/or teach reincarnation, not even those who give evidence of genuine inspiration, will necessarily themselves actually be a reincarnate. It is quite possible that the majority are not reincarnated nor will become reincarnated. All I am saying is that it is (I think) a possibility that some teachers of reincarnation may be telling the truth (within the usual constraints of human imperfection of understanding and expression) - so far as they personally are concerned.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014


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http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/text/thenatureofgod.html

From The Great Gift - 1976.

*

My own understanding is that the Creator, who is also God, is self sufficient in a sense. That is to imply that, although we need God, in every meaning of that term, God does not need us in the same way.

Against this we have to set the understanding that if God didn’t have a purpose which included us, no doubt He would not have gone to all this trouble of bringing us into existence.

But to have a purpose in which we can play some part is quite a different thing from having an absolute need of us in the way that we have an absolute need of God.

*

In the way that a child needs its mother and father, we need God for sustenance and support of our own reality because our own reality rests upon the reality of God, and all our sustenance comes from that reality.

But in quite a different way, I believe, our God wishes us to come to life, to come to a full expression of our potential, our Divine reality, and that must be for a purpose which is not essential to the Being of the Creator, but which may be essential to a particular longing and delight in the heart of the understanding of that Creator.

*

In simple words, I think that the Creator wishes to have other individual divine Beings who can be His friends with whom He can share the content of His own reality, with whom He can enter into conversation, understanding and discussion about possible experiments in living, in trying to go beyond the understanding that God has already, which to us, at our stage of development, seems infinite, but this is obviously only a relative term, and is not infinite to the Creator’s possible understanding.

(...) 

I believe that it is in the nature of all healthy spirits, all healthy individuals, to want to achieve spiritual goals. And those goals, when we look at them closely, are always goals which are impossibly difficult to reach.

They are goals which are endless goals; they are goals which are concerned with the ultimate perception of the most valuable and beautiful things which, when we reach them, will only incline us to look for more beautiful and more valuable things...

Therefore I think the Creator wishes to have friends, not only to share the delights of friendship with, but also friends who will help Him with the sort of exploration, the sort of experimental living out of life, which will enable us all to stumble upon new potentialities within that reality which we call the Absolute Divine Nature.

*

We can suggest that the Creator is aware that there are potentialities in nature which have not yet been fully actualised.

He also realises that He needs other beings to help Him to permutate, as it were, all the possibilities of the potentialities in that nature.

That is why He wishes to share His nature with us, and give us a nature similar to His own as an outright gift for us to use in our own way; so that each of us actualises it in a uniquely different way.

**


Note added:

My feeling is that Bill Arkle was making an extremely important point here. Something of potentially great value to all Christians - but perhaps especially Mormons.

That while on the one had God does not need for there to be Men, he very much wants for there to be Men; and that this desire is partly the desire for Children, and beyond that the desire for (adult) friends; and even beyond that - that Men have the potential actually to assist in the divine plan: that God can achieve things with the help of Men that could not be achieved (so well ) otherwise.

This implies that the creation and salvation of Man was not a gratuitous act; but part of a plan - a multi-phase and indeed infinite plan which is, in its bottom-line and ultimate nature - about society, about relationships, about love.

*

Ultimate reality is a personal-y thing; not a physics-y thing. 

*

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Friday, 21 March 2014


*

Edited from the Conclusion of A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle, 1974.

*

My own view is that God, like ourselves, is both 'personal' and 'impersonal'...

I also think that it is possible for our individual or personal Being to unite with God's Impersonal Being and that there is no limit to the sort of relationship we can take up with God.

(...)

But I truly believe that God is a sadder God if we do not realize the basis of his deepest motivation, which is not that he should ingest our Individuality into the Blissful nature of his being, but that we should, out of the simple recognition in our Heart of Hearts, realise the unspoken longing and non-willing that lies behind the blissful aspect of Divine Love... 

*

I believe that behind the Bliss of Divine Union resides a relationship which is deeper than Bliss; and that is the attitude which upholds and protects the Bliss. This is the attitude which has known that the Blissful qualities are 'good', and in a creative sense can be made even better...

I am sure I have offended many sincere and highly spiritual people by my remarks on these lines for they feel it is conceited of me to begin to define or explore the motive behind what is referred to as The Absolute, and not only conceited but simply impossible. 


But if the 'personal' motive is felt as I have felt it, then the problem dissolves immediately. 

(...)


Perhaps the value God seeks in us is not our perfect unalloyed Divine Being Bliss, but the humble and imperfect yearnings and sentiments that our soul feels in the crippling form of the human situation.


The compression and pain breeds a simple love that does not feed on pleasure, even Divine pleasure. It feeds on a 'craggy' determination, often beyond the hope of any rewards in the form of happiness or joy, to improve the lot of those it loves...


To my understanding, this creates a love between persons, and the souls of these persons, which teaches them something about the nature of the heart of love which is not learned in the experience of liberated divine bliss or devotion to 'perfection' as we understand it. 


*


The highest teachings we have ever received on earth seem to me to say: "Do not take any notice of miracles and powers - God can make these happen any time. Seek to understand the nature of the love that brought you forth."

This teaching is not interested in power or glory or even perfect behaviour, but has something to do with the response that only you can make - because there is none other like you.


Behind the God who is upon the Throne of Glory and Power, is the vulnerable, sweet, humble, beautiful love which is naturally more protected, secret and hidden....


*

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Friday, 21 February 2014


*

I am coming to recognize that the primary Christian reality is kinship, relatedness of persons, the union of family.

This is not so much a metaphorical way of explaining other things, as the bottom line - that by which everything else is explained.

It is, I think, the key.

**

Edited from Letter from a Father by William Arkle - this is God speaking:

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/prose/letterfromafather2.html

One of the most important ways I have chosen for you to learn what is vital for your understanding is to find yourself a part of a family situation on earth, for here you are able to go though the experience in one single lifetime, and with unbroken continuity, the experience of being a child, a mature individual and a parent.

In this situation, if you will only learn to pay close attention to it, are all the mysteries of the universe that matter to you.

If you take the trouble to stand apart and observe closely all the relationships that exist in your family situations, you will be able to observe as completely as you will how the problems of life arise, why they arise and how they are solved.

The family situation is a very special gift to you and one day you will be surprised that you took it so for granted.

*

I have not yet explained to you that you are not my only children, and that I have not brought you all up in the same way. I explained that I have gradually brought the physical universe into being by planning it and organising it at more ethereal levels of manifestation where the stuff of manifestation is more responsive and mobile. These levels are called by you more heavenly levels of being, for in them everything is more in harmony and more expressive of the intense beauty which to me is so valuable.

As these ethereal forms of manifestation were brought into existence, so did I cause other of my children [,the angels ,] to be born into them. They grew up and matured in these conditions where their attention was filled with the direct and indirect presence of your mother and myself.

We wished them to become familiar with us in this way because we were going to need them as helpers while our plan of creation grew outwards from us to more remote and unconditioned levels where our personality also became less dominant, and where other personalities, your own, would in future time be able to grow up in a slower and more difficult environment but a more independent one.

*

You understand that, at this very point in my description, you are face-to-face with one of the great secrets of my work, which, until now, has been kept hidden from you for the children of heaven have never had that independence that you have had.

They have been through happier times, but they have had greater need of me and my strength, for they were not weaned at the beginning on the strength and independence which you have been weaned on...

Slowly you will come to understand that the standing alone and apart in my universe, without being able to detect me directly, is a gift to your development which my other children have not had.

*

This gift is a painful gift for much of the time, but the depth of the understanding it produces is far greater than the understanding produced in the happy states of heaven where the qualities of my being are dominant. For joy and delight fill the days of these heavenly children, but such lessons are one-sided and do not teach them the intrinsic values of such delights because they are not valued against the experience of their opposites.

You, on the other hand, value all these opposites from the very beginning and in so doing gain an insight which is beyond my ability to explain to you at this stage, but I can say that your more detached and objective judgements will one day put you in a position where the added depth of your understanding will show you the merit of my endeavour...

*

Try to become clear in your own understanding how you feel towards your own children of earth. When you feel clearly the real depth of the attitudes you should properly find within yourselves towards them, then nearly all of the questions you have about my attitudes towards you will be answered.

For, if you have not yet learned to love your own children properly, then you are not yet ready to learn how I feel towards you.

If you are not aware that your responsibilities towards your loved ones are an exact analogy of my responsibilities towards you then you have not begun to understand why I have put you on earth.

**

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014


*
From The Great Gift - by William Arkle, 1977

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/text/resolutionofgrief.html

I suppose we can develop anger and impatience with the Creator and the way He has designed His system of teaching. We might feel angry that He hasn't stepped in and done more to remind us of what we would have liked to have been doing.

But on the other hand, we discover, the more we look at it, that the Creator's teaching method is to allow us to make mistakes and to allow us to get ourselves out of our mistakes. The deeper the mistake we make and the more we have to struggle to get out of that mistake, the more we are going to learn about the nature of our being...


*


He doesn't want holy and righteous and over-good beings to share his life with him. He wants these qualities in their proper proportion but only as secondary natures to the Divine nature itself, which is loving and caring and ongoing and friendly and creative...


You see that friendship to us, and I'm sure also to our Creator, is more important than our ability to avoid making mistakes.


As soon as we make a mistake we become, so to speak, unholy, unsaintly, unrighteous and not good. But in correcting those mistakes we gain understanding, and when we have truly gained a lot of understanding we become wise, and when we become wise we realise that wisdom is far greater than holiness or goodness or righteousness as we understand those things.


For wisdom is the highest expression of love in action and from it such qualities as holiness, and righteousness and goodness are spin-offs. They are not the primary objective of wisdom. The primary objective of wisdom is to be itself - wisely to he its loving creative nature. Wisely, that means to the best advantage of all its friends and all the situations that it is aware of. 


*


If we take a narrow view of the Creator's purpose for us, it might be the attainment of the ability to stay in a heavenly world that He created for us somewhere. To do that, the sooner we become holy and good and free of any sort of mistake the better.


But if we do that, then we are surely going to limit our ability to learn; to learn to understand who we are, to learn to understand all the qualities that are available for us to understand, because we will limit the mistakes that we are going to make and, therefore, we will limit the understanding that comes to us through the correcting of those mistakes. 


*


I feel that it is possible to say that, if the Creator had simply wanted us to become beautiful, righteous children who did nothing but be good, as it were, and delight in the Divine quality of loving, blissful, beautiful serenity, then He would have arranged for us to be born directly into heaven where we would have been with all these qualities.


But if that had happened, then we would have lacked the understanding we are gaining through living through all those beautiful, heavenly qualities and their opposite, such as ugliness and unkindness and hatred and confusion, and pain and sorrow and grief and loneliness.


Now, through the understanding of these, negative qualities, we come to know what positive qualities really are; but if we had only known the positive qualities, we wouldn't truly have known what they were. We would have been with them but we would have had nothing to compare them with. And it is only through the art of comparison that we come to an under- standing of the qualities that we handle and are capable of handling. 


*


We cannot become the friends, that the Creator wishes us to become to one another and to Himself, if we have not got the ability to understand the nature of the qualities that are available to our being.


It's no good if we simply live as heavenly beings in heaven because we would have little companionship with one another, or for the Creator, in a creative sense. We would have no ability to discuss the merits of the qualities that we know about.


But if we have lived through them, as we do on earth; and their opposites, as we do on earth, then we would develop an ability to understand, objectively, the significance of beauty, of truth, of honesty, of things like kindness and care.


How would we know about loving kindness or loving care in a place like heaven? There would be no need for kindness or for caring as we know it, everything would have been taken care of. There would be nothing to be kind about.


We would be with the quality of love, but we wouldn't be able to express it in the form of care, and we wouldn't know very much about the sort of qualities that come out of the experience of great friendship.


And these are the things that I think the Creator longs to give to us and wants to share with us in His nature.


*

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Saturday, 7 December 2013


*

Colin Wilson was an important writer in my (ahem) intellectual development. Essentially, he was an existentialist philosopher who worked across a wide range of genres.

Although since I became a Christian I have not found him so useful, up till then he was someone who I would return to. I published a few essays in a home-produced little journal called Abraxas, edited from Cornwall by a certain Paul Newman (neighbour and friend to CW) , and dedicated to Wilson and his interests.

Colin Wilson wrote a LOT of books (which is necessary if you are a professional writer, want a decent income, and when you are not a bestselling writer).

The first place I came across him was his introduction to William Arkle's Geography of Consciousness (Bill Arkle had been a neighbour of mine, 'tho I didn't know him. He lived on Backwell Hill in Somerset, near where my sister kept her pony). This I read in the summer of 1978 in a copy from Edinburgh City Library.

These are some of my favourite of Wilson's books.

The Outsider, 1956
Adrift in Soho, 1961
Bernard Shaw, 1969.
Introduction to the New Existentialism, 1966
Voyage to a Beginning (autobiography), 1969
Tree by Tolkien, 1973
The Craft of the Novel, 1975
Mysteries, 1978
Lord of the Underworld (about Jung), 1984
The Essential Colin Wilson, 1985
Spider World series of Sci Fi novels, starting 1987
The Books in my Life, 1998
Dreaming to some Purpose (autobiography), 2004

*

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


*
For non-Christian monotheists, the gulf between God the Creator and Man - numbered among His creations - is qualitative: there is a difference in kind.

On the one hand there is God the creator; and on the other hand there is everything-else - that which He created.

*

But for Christians things are not so straightforward. For Christians there is the example of Christ being both God and Man - and the clear implication that there is therefore a continuum between God and Man.

This implies that the gulf between God and Man is quantitative, rather than qualitative (accepting that truly vast quantitative differences are, for almost all practical purposes, qualitative 'in effect'.)

For Christians there is also the statement, the promise, that Man can be deified; that Men can become a Sons of God - and this again implies a quantitative continuum between God and Man.

*

Therefore, for Christians there is ample evidence that God and Man are of the same kind, and although there is yet a truly vast quantitative gulf between - yet there is the promise and hope that this gulf can be bridged (by means of the God-Man Christ).

*

The problem for Christians is therefore to understand how this (truly vast) quantitative gulf may be bridged: what kind of process could explain this?

The two main ideas about how the gulf between God and man may be closed are:

1. An evolutionary spiritual progression of Man towards God spread across vast time-scales of both pre-existence, and a post-mortal life. (i.e. The Mormon solution.)

Or,

2. An evolutionary spiritual progression of Man towards God spread across mega-multiple cycles of reincarnation. (The Hindu solution, also other Far Eastern regions - and one incorporated into various modern spiritual movements such as Anthroposophy, some New Age writers, and also William Arkle.)

*

My point is that an acceptance of the (Christian) principle of deification and an acceptance of the centrality of spiritual progression, theosis, sanctification etc in Christian life; will, in combination, lead on to a need for explanations that:

1. Extend beyond mortal life, and

2. Extend across extremely large time-scales

...in order to make comprehensible how a Man may become a god.
*

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014


*

I have previously written about the Mormon belief in a Heavenly Mother or Mother in Heaven who is God's wife, and mother to all his spirit children (including you and I).

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-mormon-folk-belief-in-gods-wife.html

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-vision-of-william-arkle-question-of.html

I have continued to read and meditate on this matter - and have been convinced that a belief in Heavenly Mother is more than just a 'folk belief' as I had supposed, but is pretty-much canonical in the CJCLDS.

This study of authoritative sources by was what finally convinced me:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFViewer.aspx?title=8669&linkURL=50.1PaulsenPulidoMother-482bf17d-bbc5-4530-a7cc-c1a1b7e5b079.pdf

David L. Paulsen and Martin Pulido,
""A Mother There": A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven", BYU Studies, 50/1 (2011)

*

The reality of a Heavenly Mother has, naturally, many profound metaphysical - as well as theological and practical - consequences.

It should be noted that the reality of a Heavenly Mother seems to be asserted mostly on the grounds of authoritative revelation; but also on 'logical' grounds that since gender - being either a man or a woman - is a fundamental, pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal reality for humans; and since humans are made in the image of God and are of the same 'kind'; it would make sense if this principle extended to God.

*

The matter of 'where did God come from?' is often answered by Mormons in terms of an infinite regress: our God was once a mortal man who was spirit child of another God - and so on.

(This is monotheist in the sense that there is but one God for us - relevant to us, in our part of total reality; and these other Gods have absolutely nothing to do with us at all - except as a source of our God).

*

But another way to answer the question of the origin of God is that He always was.

This is what I believe (or what I choose to believe - since metaphysics are essentially a matter of choice, and stand behind Christian doctrine and not necessarily affecting or affected by it).

So, if God always was; was God the creator, the originator of Mother in Heaven? This would mean that God was the (one and only?) exception to the rule that gender is primary and fundamental - because on this model, God had either no gender or contained both genders.

Or was our Heavenly Mother also eternal - was She always? So that God the Father and Heavenly Mother are coeval and were always divine?

*

In other words, since the Mormon understanding of divinity is within an also-existing universe with laws and realities within-which God operates; the question is whether eternity contained 'the universe' and one God (without gender) - from whom Mother in Heaven later arose in some way?

Or did eternity contain 'the universe' and two Gods - one male and one female?

I choose to believe the second: that there is no exception to the rule that gender is primary and fundamental to Man - so Heavenly Mother was coeval with God the Father: they existed as divinities from eternity.

*


Note: What about the rest of us? Did we not too exist from eternity? Yes we did - that seems necessary to explain the reality of free will/ autonomy and also evil. However we were individual essences or potentialities with no 'powers'. But only God the Father and Heavenly Mother were divine. They took these essences and we became their children - divine children. The plan of Happiness/ Plan of Salvation is the very long term hope and intention that at least some of us children will choose-to learn-to become 'adult divinities' (if I may put it that way) like to God the Father and Heavenly Mother. Just as earthly children may mature, grow and learn to become like their earthly parents; always children of their parents but now children who are also - in addition - friends. It is a yearning for loving friends to share their universe which motivated God the Father and Heavenly Mother to embark on the extraordinarily complex, contingent, risky and painful plan of salvation and happiness. Within the constraints of our universe it is, apparently, the only way for us to achieve divinity - although we are free to reject the plan, and to reject progress towards divinity and to stop at any point in the path to full God-hood. Speaking personally, I am at this point too selfishly daunted by the idea of suffering the empathic pain intrinsic to full divine parenthood to want to aspire to the highest possible theosis - and would hope to stop somewhere short of that state. But in the course of eternity no doubt this may change.

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Friday, 2 May 2014


*

For the 'scientific' explanation, first read:

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/understanding-dreaming-sleep-awake.html

This strange-seeming way of thinking about dreaming, the awake state and deep sleep comes from combining the Mormon understanding that we had a pre-mortal existence with an insight of William Arkle that our mortal, earthly incarnated life is characterized by being a slowly-moving, close-up and detailed form of consciousness as perceived from a 'Heavenly' perspective.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/is-mortal-life-behind-veil-of.html

This is related to trying to understand the reason for earthly incarnated mortal life - what is it that we can do in this form of existence that could not be accomplished in Heaven/ an immortal and spiritual world (or, at least, would be more difficult, slower, less probable than in Heaven).

I am also trying to understand how - say - angels can operate between Heaven (or some other spiritual realm) and Earth - how they can sometimes apparently get so much done in such a short period of time; yet at other times are described as taking-on bodies and operating on a human timescale, but somewhat like 'superhuman' Men.

*

Anyway, I came-up with the idea that from the awake perspective we have an understanding of Heavenly operations in dreaming sleep - when there is so much done in a very short time.

So Heavenly time and action can be understood as a more extreme version of the dreaming mind as it is perceived by our awake mind; in the sense that we can experience (say) a thousand hours of dreaming experience in just one hour of awake time - or can accomplish things a thousand times faster while dreaming than while awake.

*

And, alternatively from the perspective of our awake state, we could view deep sleep as analogous to how earthly, mortal incarnate life might seem to a Heavenly being such as an angel. Our earthly mortal incarnate life might seem incredible slowed-up and uneventful.

When we awaken from deep sleep, it seems as if little or nothing has been going on - perhaps just a certain mood, or theme remains... Likewise, an angel might have time to think and do a thousand things while we were only able to think a sentence, lift a hand or experience a mood.

*

And, perhaps, to angelic consciousness a whole human lifespan seems like the life of a mayfly...

This would mean that human consciousness perceives vastly more detail, drama, dilemmas per unit time than do angels - all the great issues of which we are aware in mortal life may just whiz past an angelic consciousness.

So mortal incarnate life on Earth might be much better that the Heavenly realm as an arena for the exercise of human agency, free will, as a place when the choices arrive slowly, singly, linearly - where the whizzing pace of spiritual existence gets slowed-down, dissected into its components, put under a microscope...

*

I find this helpful in understanding why it was necessary (or most-beneficial) to create an earth for men to be born into as mortals - why this situation is better than Heaven for doing what we are here to do.

*

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Thursday, 1 May 2014


*

It is impossible to love an unloveable God

William Arkle.

In The Great Gift (1977)

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/text/intro.html

**

Note: the world is full of unloveable Gods.

Alas, Christianity also is full of unloveable Gods: that cannot be right.

But why should it be so?

Because too many Christian theologians have been too willing to imperil, or even sacrifice, the love-ability of God on the altar of His power.

*

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Friday, 25 April 2014


*

I keep coming across a triadic division of human perception and judgement which divides thinking into heart, head and gut; which places the 'heart' above, and in authority over, the 'head' and the 'gut' (the actual names vary).

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/heart-mind-and-body-harry-hermione-and.html

In other words, that there is an intellectual-abstract way of evaluating (the head) and an instinctive-animal way of evaluating (the gut) and these are mainstream, and ubiquitous and well understood in modern society - which is in practice divided and alternating between dry analysis and unfettered emotion -

But that properly both of these are ruled by a 'Heart' way of evaluating which we have largely lost, but which we can usually be led to recognize, so long as we acknowledge its reality.

*

Most recently I came across this in William Arkle:

The spiritually oriented personality is better understood to be working through what we might call the mindfulness of the heart.

Generally speaking we do not take this heart awareness seriously, for we have been schooled to trust only in our head logic. But in other parts of the world, and in different cultures, the mind which belongs to our heart centre is taken as seriously as our head centred mind...

To those of us who have only learned to trust our heads, this heart nature can seem to be an expression of uneducated, undisciplined, and irrational feelings. This devaluing of the mindfulness of the heart is liable to be caused by it being confused with the solar plexus centre, which is the centre of our lower emotional nature, but it may also be caused by the aggressive and inappropriate attitude of our head awareness...

Because heart mindfulness reflects the reference nature of our spiritual individuality, it is in this centre of our nature that we should look for that primal synthesis which has come to be attuned to the understanding of a great many things.

Within this synthesis the portrait of our God can appear, if we choose to look for it, since it is made up of all those varied indications of His character which have come to us from every direction, and which the reference nature naturally tries to combine into one whole picture. Thus it is often said by spiritual teachers that it is by our heart that we shall know God.

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/prose/hologram/page6.html


*

For this teaching of the heart to become anything more than nice, warm, touchy feel-good stuff - for heart awareness to be regarded as truly superior to the intellect and the instincts, such that we would properly, justifiably, actually live (or die) by it - requires a metaphysical revolution.

It requires that reality be such that the heart knows, has access to, knowledge about reality; and in practice this implies a connection.

What, in principle, could the heart be connected-with that the brain and the gut perceive only indirectly?

I would say, the aliveness of things.

Therefore; the heart is the 'organ' by which we know the animistic universe - which is primary reality.

*


REFS:

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/if-christian-love-is-primary-thing-this.html

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-animated-universe-everything-is.html




*

Imagine a Mother sitting and watching her one year old baby at play.

From the perspective of any observer other than the Mother, the actions of that child are highly imperfect - pooping, weeing, vomiting, being selfish, banging and breaking and tearing stuff...

But from the Mother's perspective that child's behaviour is perfect; because he is doing just what a child ought to do, needs to do - it is a child who is growing, developing, learning - precisely as the Mother wished and hoped and planned.

So, from the perspective of his Mother, that baby is not meant to be perfect in terms of his specific current behaviours, he is not designed to be - he cannot possibly be - perfect in that sense.

But the baby is - and is meant to be - perfect in terms of being on a trajectory of learning.


"Mother" = God
"Baby" = Mortal Men on earth
"Growing, developing and learning" = Theosis.

*


The metaphor derives from William Arkle - 56.00 minutes
http://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/digital_08.html




*

Many people have an intuition of pre-mortal existence, a very vague memory or feeling or hunch that their life did not start at birth (or conception).

They may not take notice of it, or it may be explained by reason or revelation. So, some attribute this to reincarnation, others to a spirit life before incarnate life... there are various possibilities pagan, philosophical, mainstream Christian and nowadays Mormon - documented by Terryl Givens in When Souls had Wings.  

But a big problem is trying to explain (usually by some metaphor) why we don't remember more of this pre-mortal existence - or more exactly why we remember enough to have an intuition, but not enough to recall anything specific.

*

The main metaphor I have come across is that a 'veil' divides the pre-mortal from the mortal life: the idea apparently being that through a veil one can perceive shapes and movements, but no specific details.

On the other hand, the metaphor breaks down in the sense that a veil is so flimsy, yet the barrier preventing us from perceiving pre-mortal existence seems almost absolute; also that a veil seems suited to dividing an 'ongoing' spirit-world from this mortal world, but less helpful in explaining the vague nature of our memories.

*

Another way of thinking about this, another metaphor, is that mortal life could be conceptualized as extremely thick and viscous; so that compared with pre-mortal life we can only wade and move very slowly through it, and with great effort.

I get the general idea from William Arkle - the point being that the viscosity and extremely slow movement of earthly life, relative to Heavenly or other 'higher' forms of life, is an essential aspect of our unique ability to gain experience as incarnate mortals; BUT that it creates a significant (although not absolute) barrier to our perceptions and memories of pre-mortal existence - which seems to us almost incomprehensibility swift and frictionless.

Just a thought...

*


Sunday, 2 March 2014


*

Excerpt - Letter from a Father by William Arkle [emphasis added]

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/prose/letterfromafather3.html

*

I know, and you know, that the world has produced some strange and unpleasant ways of picturing me and doing me service.

There are religions in the world of all sorts and the confusion in your minds about your own reality, the reality of the universe and about the nature of my being is a terrible tangle of fear, doubt and human shortcomings.

I would like you to try and raise your eyes above all this towards the one simple and salient fact that my nature is made of a degree of love which will go far beyond any longing you have ever carried in your heart as yet,

and, if such was my nature from the beginning, then such will always be the starting point for any understanding that you have of me.

*

If your understanding tries to start from a lesser position, then it will produce for you a lesser vision and one which may well hinder and hurt you if you try to live by it or serve it in ways which would be foreign to my ways.

You often picture me in your hearts as something less than a kind and strong human being, but, if you look at all the fine qualities that the world has witnessed, and then think of me as having them even more abundantly, then you will come closer to my bigness of heart and bigness of mind.

(...)


To love something is one thing, but to worship it is another.

Worship creates a gap in our understanding and valuation and into this gap creeps fear and self-deprecation.

Neither of these qualities are good in my sight, and I do not desire that you should worship me for it produces servility and fear where I should prefer friendship and affection.

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What I found striking and shocking about this passage was that the primary and best understanding of God - that He is our Father and the idea, that Fatherhood should 'always be the starting point for any understanding' - does indeed imply that God would not want our worship, and may indeed regard an attitude of worship as inappropriate, worrying, missing the point, evidence of a profound (although not-necessarily fatal) misunderstanding of His nature.

As Fathers ourselves, the primary emotion and attitude that we most deeply hope-for from our children is certainly not worship; but, I think, much closer to 'friendship and affection' (plus a lot of other things, of course).

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To picture God as wanting our worship may indeed be to picture him as being something less than a kind and strong human being.

I regard this as an example of the great hazard of abstract conceptualizations of God (e.g. abstractions such as God being infinite in power, knowledge, presence - the 'omnis').

In striving to make something as-Great-as-possible out of our understanding of God, perhaps motivated by fear rather than love; we reach for abstractions - and in doing so we forget His primary nature and end-up making our 'picture' of God into something less than a Man; indeed we end-up by understanding God as worse than ourselves - somebody whose behaviour we must apologize-for, excuse and explain.

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But the mistake was made in abstraction - in abandoning the simple, 'anthropomorphic', primary reality of God as our Heavenly Father whose nature is made of a degree of love which will go far beyond any longing we have ever carried in our hearts; and such should always be the starting-point, and also the final check-point, for our understanding of God.

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Friday, 28 February 2014


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It would feel wrong to us if our God made it a condition of our eternal life that we should befriend Him in a personal way, so we enhance the meaning and value of that friendship when we realise that it is an unconditional choice, just as real friendship should be. But there is also nothing wrong in choosing to unite with all the beautiful values and qualities which belong to the Divine Impersonal Being. Therefore if we unite our impersonal nature with the impersonal nature of God, then that is a proper expression of our Divine Individuality.

William Arkle - Caption to a painting

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/pictureseq/fset051.html

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My understanding of this, would be that a person who chose to unite his impersonal nature to the impersonal nature of God would be someone who either simply did not, or could not, believe in God as a person; or who did believe in a personal God but could not love him - or, it may be a person who rejects the gift of consciousness which comes from being a Son of God (one of the Children of God).

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My understanding is that humans have an unique personal spark, some essence which precedes us becoming a Son of God - and it is this which is the cause of our autonomy, our free will.

When we became Children of God, to this personal spark was added a spark of God Himself - and this spark of God is what made us conscious, aware, capable of relationships (and that we all share this spark is what makes us really and truly children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ).

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But the spark of divine consciousness brings with it attachment, especially empathic pain, worry, regrets, sorrow - all the intrinsic realities of family relationship - and some people find this awareness simply too painful, a source of intolerable suffering.

At a profound level such persons reject the spark of God, and yearn to return to their original state of being an unique personal spark yet unaware, unconscious, assimilated to the universe.

To such souls, God provides the third option - neither Heaven nor Hell but the opportunity to "unite with all the beautiful values and qualities which belong to the Divine Impersonal Being" - in an unchanging, eternal, present state without memories or anticipations.  

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