If the primal reality of God is imagined before the beginning of creation, and if God is single and personal; then creation can be understood as God's 'play'.
This is made simple and explicit in God, the Player Friend; a rare 42 page booklet self-published by William Arkle in 1993, which I only discovered-about a couple of weeks ago, and which I am currently reading.
Typically (and valuably) Arkle boils it down to God alone becoming bored with a world in which everything was caused by himself; and from this dissatisfaction manifesting creation so that divine 'Friends' - that is, fully-developed men and women - could gradually evolve, and become genuinely independent sources of surprise and innovation.
As so often, much hinges upon the primary assumptions; and here Arkle makes the primary assumption that the beginning of everything - God - is a unity. When this is the assumption, then I think it is 'inevitable' that there is an 'arbitrary' quality of 'play' about everything in creation.
Reality is because creation is more 'fun' than no reality; as Arkle sometimes put it.
When creation is driven by something negative like boredom, and negativity is cured by the independent play of other agents or actors; then we get this kind of double-negative theology which I always regard as secondary.
Yet, if creation is dynamic, expansile (as I believe) then it must indeed be motivated by some kind of (negatively) discontent, or (positively) yearning.
My own understanding is different from Arkles, and is pretty-much the Mormon Christian theology; which is that 'in the beginning' God was two, a dyad, man and woman, Heavenly Father and Mother.
By this understanding there never was 'unity' - unless the unity is regarded as being divided in twain. The 'unity' comes from Love: love between our Heavenly Parents, which eternally 'binds' them (in a 'celestial marriage'). That is my primal reality.
The primal reality is therefore one that is dynamic, as love is dynamic; and it is one of yearning, as love contains yearning. By my understanding, then, creation is the result of an overflow of this yearning love; so that there be more autonomous, agent, independently-creative persons to love.
This is a familiar motivation arising between a loving husband and wife: the positive desire for children to expand the scope and possibility of love. The married couple's aspiration for pro-creation (and also to create a home, a family, ideally one that is ever-growing and inter-linking - with all that entails in terms of the context for such growth) is thus seen of a microcosm of the divine impulse to creation.
The classical 'Trinitarian' formulation of Christian theology 'has it both ways' in asserting that God is both undivided-unity (with no sex) and hence of its nature static and self-sufficient; and also a triad of Father, Son and Holy Ghost (with no sex) - who are different enough to be bound together by love, hence dynamic and motivated to grow.
By this classical account; sexuality is secondary, temporary, inessential; whereas for Mormon theology sexuality is primary and causal; deriving from the nature of God - our Heavenly Parents.
I can make no rational sense of classical Trinitarianism; but as a form of words, it covers all the bases!
However, for me, God must be either one or more-than-one; and my understanding is that God is (or rather was, primally) two. And these two were a man and a woman. And their love was the fount of creation.
Friday, 21 February 2020
Thursday, 9 January 2020
Equations of Being - Notes on the nature of love
By William Arkle
Self published as a booklet from Backwell Hill House, Backwell, Somerset; circa 1980
We are finding that it is in our nature to require a sense of reality and a sense of purpose in which our spirits feel a certain sort of freedom, open endedness and ease. An this requirement relates to the inner ethereal activity of our spirit as well as the outer physical expression. To feel at ease, we require an understanding of our purpose which responds to the experiences we have had in our own right, and which appeals to the intelligence and commonsense which has built up in us. But by the term commonsense, we are not talking about average attitudes or the lowest common denominator in society. By commonsense we are trying to indicate a certain sort of innate good sense which is derived from our best thought, emotions and instincts. This type of good sense can feel the reasonability or unreasonability of arguments and ideas, and in trying to be true to ourselves we find we have to be true to this good sense or else we begin to feel ill at ease; we begin to feel hypocritical, out of balance, in danger of fooling ourselves.
It is with this in mind that we shall attempt to build up a philosophy in which we can consider our whole reality in the universe, not only from our own point of view, but also from the position of a creative source; which may be either personal, like the Christian God, or impersonal, in the form of the One Absolute Life. And yet, which ever way it goes, the philosophy has to regard this creative source as being very aware and responsive. We shall find that we have to avoid allowing ourselves to think of it as being something like a ‘biological computer’, or sophisticated machine.
Because the word philosophy has been used, this must not be taken to mean we are going to engage in a dry intellectual discussion. Rather, we are going to need a philosophy which will allow all our best and most immediate responses to life their proper place. As philosophers, we are about to endeavour to stand fully in our human condition at one instant, and fully our of it, as detached observers, at the next instant.
We know very well that it is very difficult to take a detached view of things. We know that it is difficult enough to keep a balanced attitude towards our physical life, let alone discover a balanced view of the more intangible content of our inner reality. To expect ourselves to be able to add to this a view which begins to take in the possible views and attitudes of other peoples inner and outer worlds is to ask a great deal of ourselves. It does not seem that there is any hope of success in this endeavour unless we can use a way of discussion amongst ourselves which is both simple and profound. We need the simplicity in order to avoid confusion, and we need the profundity in order to cover the whole ground.
It will be necessary, therefore, to talk about ourselves and our understanding in direct and penetrating terms. We will not be able to afford one another the politeness we show in our social meetings, where we continually feel for one another’s ‘walls of resistance’ and respectfully retreat from them as they are discovered. To be of any help, we must step right through these polite attitudes of our social selves to the timid and uncertain person that, in nearly every case, is hiding behind them. But we are going to show that this person in hiding should not be so timid or so uncertain. In fact the burden of our effort will be to enhance and bolster-up the true individual that exist on the perimeter of life in a condition of apology for which it is always trying to compensate.
In saying this we are also required to face up to the fact that we are going to disturb and subdue the compensating personality which stands in the way of the true individual. We are going to draw attention to the difference between the two natures which live in the same physical body, and make sure that the correct nature is left in charge and that a fruitful synthesis replaces a running battle.
There is nothing weird about this way of expressing the position. We are not about to face up to some other person in ourselves who will come out of the blue like a thief and a stranger. Rather we are going to try and get on the same good terms with ourselves that we often enjoyed in our childhood.
We are going to become childish, but we are required to become more child-like if we are ever to achieve the directness about which we have been talking. The quality of this child-like nature is one which has not been too overlaid with the structure of limitation placed on it, mostly quite unconsciously, by the attitudes of our parents, friends and teachers. But we are to blame too, for we have allowed the ways of other people to sway us away from our inner sense of fitness and purpose. We have all been weak at times, and these are the occasions in which we have allowed second-rate values to replace the values in our life which we need to maintain if we are to look about us in open-eyed wonder. For not only do we need to have this open attitude to our external experiences, we also need it in our inner life. If we have allowed it to become clouded, then we have allowed ourselves to become cripples. For if a large part of our true nature is denied its value, then this is equivalent to living our life with only one arm or one leg. In fact it is far worse, it is more like having a leg which is back to front, since it causes a division in our nature which allows it to try to follow two opposite directions at the same time. One is the successful conformity to the ways of our man-made society, and the other is to the ways of our most real self, whose values are in many ways at odds with those of society.
And this is how the running battle between two different aspects of our self comes about. One part of ourself is trying to survive in the world as a worldly personality. The other part is trying to survive as a spiritual being according to the values which belong to it’s spirituality. It is towards the significance of this spirituality that we discover we have an ambivalent attitude. If someone denies to us that we are a person of spiritual standards we feel grossly insulted. Yet, if someone openly refers to us as a spiritual or religious person, our first impulse is often to deny it, not out of modesty so much as out of fear. This fear is of ridicule from those who do not have spiritual attitudes, and of what might be expected of us in the future by those who do have spiritual attitudes.
It would therefore be of help to us if we could build up an understanding of creation and the purpose behind creation, which would allow us to accept both parts of our nature in terms of being an inevitable result of that which creation was designed to accomplish. At present, we in the western world are more often than not confronted with religious ideas which give us the feeling that we have committed some terrible sin which has caused sufferings and difficulties to arise as a form of punishment for not being obedient to the commands of the Great Cause, the source of life. Yet if we approach this source in the right way, we may well discover that our religious understanding is often quite wrong and that we have misconstrued the meaning of our difficulties and the rebelliousness that seems to have caused them.
There is a consensus among responsible people in the world which adds together the good, the true and the beautiful and arrives at an image of the perfect being who is able to express all that is held to be most valuable. However we look at this fact it leads us to the realisation that such thoughtful and responsible people are truly carrying around with them an image in their deepest consciousness which is both a Creator and a God and also an ideal towards which they themselves are trying to grow. Whether these people ever put their instinctive understanding of this situation into words or not, or whether they admit the situation to themselves or not, the reality is that they are living a purposeful spiritual life which is governed by the love they bear towards these higher values. The fact that the higher values may be seen by them in terms of their love and respect for human beings, animals or the environment, or that it may be understood in terms of a religious teaching and a Saviour or a Divine Person does not make any difference to the heart of the matter. For the hear of the matter is that they are trying to grow more like the things which they love. In loving mankind, the humanist is becoming godlike. In loving God the religious person is becoming a person who loves all life and all its human forms. Now if we can set up a series of propositions which lead our understanding towards a situation which can account for all these attitudes and can accept them equally, then we shall have a philosophy which will be a real help in every aspect of our everyday life.
Those people who do not have a love for the good, true and beautiful will not be reading this book anyway, so we will continue our discussions without trying to argue why we should love these ideals. Let us be satisfied that we do appreciate these values and that we do wish to be associated with them rather than their opposites. Those people who are sitting on the fence between those two attitudes will have to come along with us as far as they can. Those of us who ‘mean business’ towards the good are the salt of the earth and it is among these that we wish our discussions to develop so that their nature may become more salty and that they dip into it more often.
What I wish to do is to become very bold and suggest that we put ourselves in the position of this Creative Source, the God of what we love, and begin to see things from the position we would be in if we were about to design the plans for this scheme of manifestation of which our worlds are a part. This means that we must feel for the godlike image we have in our consciousness and clarify it to the extent that we can begin to understand at least something of the attitude that would be brought to bear on this creative endeavour. Our Source will have many attributes which we can agree about. Our love for the ideals which we carry in our nature in common will know that such a Creator will have to be, first of all, love itself. We know that we would resist any other Being however many qualities of power, knowledge and talent He had. We know, therefore, that what we refer to as love, in its most profound sense, is also a simple but unmistakable beginning we require and respond to. When we reach a certain stage of growth within our spirit we know this to a degree that we would never argue about it. It is the simple but profound basis to our understanding which is the only one that can remain in harmony with our good sense. And yet there are many things to be drawn out of this love knowledge which as yet we are still hazy about.
Now, when we put ourselves in the position of this Creator, it is then that we have to look more closely at the nature of love and try to understand the principles which it contains. Unless we can do this we cannot begin our designing for we will not be clear about what we are trying to achieve. We could, for instance, design a scheme, as many of us would, which would be like a continuous, perfect, summer holiday situation. We would all begin our designs with the idea of ease and happiness in mind. We would all find that our schemes did not contain responsibility or difficulty. I think we would find that our plans would take for granted that it was easy to include other people in our perfect world. I think we would find that we would make up a perfect and easy world where everyone was like ourselves and where all the things that really mattered to us were simply put into the picture, ready made, as though the reality of them could be programmed into them. All our schemes would contain other people, for none of us would want to be lonely, and all of us would soon begin to realise that other people were an integral part of all that we enjoyed about ourselves. We would discover that a sort of mythical ‘deckchair on golden deserted sands’ situation was a trap that we all fell into. A little would be pleasant, but only because it is what we are most short of in our experience of life as it is on Earth. Even if we allowed ourselves a companion, or even a family, we would find that there was still a lot wrong. The family who sat about with us would get restless as we would.
So we would want to explore a bit, go for a walk, see something new. We may go for a swim. Swimming and short walks, on a perfect beach in perfect weather, with all our loved ones about us; such might be a beginning. But the walks would have to get longer and the swimming would have to include diving. The diving would lead to exploring the seabed and the walks would become voyages of discovery. We would wish to feel that the family or friends were on the sands for us to come back to, but we would want to feel free to explore, we would want to feel free to experiment with different sorts of walking and swimming, different combinations of walking, swimming and sitting in the sun. We would wish to talk to our companions, we would wish to enjoy their company. We would wish to laugh and have a bit of fun. We would wish for them to be real in their own right so that the laughter and fun was real and full of surprise and the unexpected. If we had programmed the other people to be like ourselves we would find it very difficult to keep up the pretence of enjoying their company, their fun and their affection. For pretence it would have to be, since we were really entertaining ourself in other guises.
We are only touching on the problems of designing a scheme of creation that we would consider to be an ideal one. But if we look into the matter further we will come upon the main factors that confront us, even if we are physical persons in physical bodies. What we discover, if we play with this problem, is that whatever form we take and whatever environment we take it in there are certain basic requirements which stem from the nature of love itself. We discover that our sense of love to explore and experiment is as real as our love to bask in sunny happiness. Our sense of love needs other people to do these things with. Our sense of love requires fun and delight with other peoples company, and it requires these other people to be real as we are; we require them to be real in their own right. A big problem we come up against is that any idea of existence requires us to people our world with beings who are different from ourselves, who most certainly must not have been programmed or brainwashed by us in any way. In fact we find that other people who are as real and independent as we are, are something we cannot do without. So we face this situation when we come to design our scheme of manifestation. Our spirit needs freedom to explore, experiment and grow, and it needs to feel that it has companions to share such a life with, and these companions have to be real and independent in their own right. It means that if we start the scheme off, we have to accept that they might wish to do things that did not appeal to us. We would have to learn to accept one another’s different approaches and the fact that although we may have designed the scheme, we had to give to them the same rights as we had. We would have to accept that although we started the scheme off, if it was to be any good to us, if it was to be true and beautiful, then we would have to hand over the control and outcome to them as much as to ourselves.
Against this argument is the realisation that a creative scheme has to ensure that the freedom which is allowed to the other individuals who live in it is handed to them gradually as their responsibility grows and is able to bear it safely. For if we give to our friends, who we wish to live with in our designed creation, the freedom and independence which makes them real to us and therefore makes the experience of their company completely valid, we do not wish to reach a stage at which we ourselves are over-ruled by them.
When we begin to imagine ways of bringing our companions into our creative scheme in such a way that we can give to them their own reality, and give it to them in such a way that we do not dominate them, we realise what a subtle thing this process will have to be. Such companions will have to be given the same creative reality as ourself, the creator, but they will begin their life in a condition of great potentiality which will be entirely unrealised by them. So our scheme of creation will have to be largely educational to start with before our friends will have grown up enough to enter into its delightful creative purpose with their own unique individual ways of looking at things and doing things, and with the responsibility which will ensure that their desire is to enhance all things and not to destroy or diminish.
The other points we will have to observe are concerned with how we will help our friends to come to themselves gradually and take the gift of their own reality upon themselves deliberately. We will have to discover ways of showing them why the good and the beautiful qualities are considered by us, the creator, to be good and beautiful. The only way we can do this is by giving them a taste of the opposite qualities in order that they can knowingly say to themselves ‘I have experienced beautiful and good attitudes which seek to enhance all things; and I have experienced ugly and evil attitudes which seek to diminish and enslave all things, and I chose the good and the beautiful and will always resist the opposite’.
If we find a way of helping our friends into their own reality in this responsible way, then we can enjoy their company in the next level of our creative purpose, which is to have them with us to explore and experiment with our potentiality, which we would consider to be unlimited. The unique character of each of our friends would mean that we were each a continual delight to one another both in terms of our meeting together in our home’ and in our explorations together into the unknown potential of our spirits.
This is then an introduction to the spiritual philosophy which follows. It is by trying to put ourselves in the position of the Creator whose nature is love and spiritedness, that we may be able to draw conclusions which help us to understand and accept the situation on Earth as we find it at the present time. We may realise that the difficulties, while often painful, are also extremely valuable if we can view them as a part of the process of making us into real and responsible individual spirits who can become companions of the endless life in which the Creative Source wishes us to meet Him.
It is most important that we consider if we would prefer to be given a very full and thorough education, in which difficulties acted upon us to strengthen all our characteristics which we feel to be valuable. Or would we prefer an easy form of education in which we could obtain a token reality for ourselves in circumstances which required little effort on our part? Or, again, would we prefer to be created with all our individuality ready made and programmed into us? In which case we would not need education for we would simply respond with the conditioning already at work in our nature, effortless and automatic and not within our power to change. In the long run we would all realise that the difficult and thorough way was the only thing we wanted, for above all, we wish to be real. We want to be valuably real, but we do not want to be artificially valuable.
There must be no misunderstanding over the substance of this philosophy. Nowhere is it ever suggested that we should undertake evil experience in order to become wise. It would be very easy to read into these arguments some excuse for the gratification of degenerate appetites of the flesh and of consciousness. Some might even excuse such behaviour on the grounds that it indicates maturity of spirit, and that purity is only for children and the childlike level of our growth. Those who attempt to think in this way have subverted the whole sense of value that we are trying to reach. If evil occurs as the result of error which is not deliberate, this philosophy shows us how we can make up for it and turn it with responsibility into something of long term value. This is a very different thing to any form of deliberate and irresponsible behaviour undertaken in the name of careless high spirits or the excitement of the cruder forms of our physical sense. Those who choose to become the means of diminishment to others or themselves will pay a price and that price is built into their own nature and the nature of the Creators environments.
If we can imagine a time before creation began when our creator was alone in the Absolute Divine Being then we can suggest that the greatest desire in His being was to bring into existence other individuals who were able to share a living process with Him in as mature a way as possible. This attitude we may extract from the spirit of highest love, which we observe delights in the existence of others and in living an active expression of values with others. In this we are saying that the nature of love is such that it contains a series of values in the understanding of its being which are, as it were, its treasures. These treasures are living expressions and not objects, and so they require to be expressed in a life situation. And we are also saying that love would delight in the living out of these treasures with other individuals who were capable of responding to them and appreciating their meaning and value.
It can be felt by us that Divine Love would wish to personify or focus itself so that it could behave as an individual towards other individuals. Then the fullness of its nature could be exchanged and expressed; the potentialities and possibilities could widen and widen in the context of love between individuals which we call friendship. So we can say again, that our Creator wished to have a number of friends to live with in a loving and learning situation.
But let us remind ourselves that we are talking about the highest sense of love and of learning, and these two senses do not bear any close relation to a passing gratification of our sensual desire, or to the mechanical addition of concrete knowledge to our memory processes. These higher senses of love and learning express a sublime attitude of affection and gladness towards the unique reality of other individuals and the increase of understanding of one another. Such understanding may well contain some concrete knowledge, but this will form but a small part of the larger understanding of the treasures, inherent in the spirit, that one individual can call into expression for the other. So learning, in this sense, is growth towards deeper wisdom and deeper beauty for which any technique must always take second place.
Let us also consider that individuals live together in two forms of loving when they are being true to their highest nature. The one can be thought of as a continuing ‘maintenance’ condition of united and close ‘being together’. The other is an unpredictable and creative activity which needs to explore and experiment, alone or with others, in order to achieve the enlargement of our knowledge of all things: whether in existence awaiting discovery or latent in the Absolute Spirit requiring to be expressed for the first time. This second condition of love can be called the ‘growth’ or ‘creative’ condition.
We may agree that our Creator was moved to bring into existence this scheme of manifestation which we find ourselves engaged in to fulfil both forms of love which has an on-going, ever expanding need. Not a need which has to be met in any cold or calculated way, but a need that can grow out of the maintenance love of Divine nature in an attitude of delight, affection and friendship. The most fruitful and enjoyable friend the Creator can have is one who is truly independent and possessed of the objective understanding of the values which belong to the nature of the Divine Spirit. This degree of wisdom has to know why the treasures in God’s nature are treasured as they are and, so, this wisdom has to understand how these values were arrived at. Knowledge may tell us that such a condition is felt to be very good in the eyes of our Creator, but wisdom is necessary to know the full reason for that being so. It is as though wisdom has to understand the matrix in which all knowledge has it’s validity; so wisdom has to understand another ‘dimension’ beyond the dimension of knowledge.
The friend that our God will delight in is thus required to be able to relate to Him in a mature way. This other being must therefore be a truly unique individuality, standing on his own feet, as it were, and able to express an original point of view towards all values and situations. It must also belong willingly to the fundamental integrity of the Divine Spirit, and the discipline which emanates from the need of that spirit to be whole and healthy unto itself. This integrity points to the fact that the Absolute must judge experiments by what can add to its wholeness with profit and what may be detrimental. It follows that if the Creator wishes to make experiments which may develop in a detrimental way, these experiments must be carried out in a condition which can be isolated, until the good can be sifted from the not good.
Now it is a possible motive for creation that our Creator felt the need to bring into existence a ground upon which He could sow the ‘seeds’ of other ‘Beings’ who would then be in a position to grow out of their seed condition into a condition of consciousness. This elementary consciousness would grow in a partly guided and partly free way, in order that it should achieve self-consciousness, leading to wise and loving self-consciousness. Such wise and loving self-consciousness being a point of growth at which the individual can become aware that it has the relationship of a child to it’s Creator. This child condition may then continue towards a more mature situation as a result of further experience, and with the freedom that its unique individuality requires may be aware of its movement from that of a child to that of a mature Divine Individual; who is then in a position of detachment from the child-parent relationship and thus able to sustain itself upon the ground of Divine Absolute Being in a similar fashion to our God. Our God will have then brought about His great desire, which is to share the potentiality of Being with other independent ‘persons’ whose friendship is freely given.
It seems that, if our understanding is correct, we must look carefully at these few salient facts that we have already suggested. Each one of these steps that we have taken in our discussion may well appeal to the reasonableness that we have learned from our own experience of life, for the feeling of like or dislike towards these arguments will have to stem from some resonance in our own nature which again stems from the nature of Absolute Being. Such reasoning will however require that we have already succeeded in freeing ourselves from a framework of reality which is confined to what is known as normal perception of normal man, which in our day has become biased towards a purely physical view of reality and has lost faith in the spirituality of life and of the non-physical value and identity of it’s Being nature.
We who try to understand one another by these more philosophical means know very well how important it is to be able to life our nature to a point of detachment which is able to view in deep perspective such overall concepts and yet remain in sympathy with the whole world of events around us. It is most difficult to bring about an independent view of the possible nature of reality while still carrying in our consciousness the variety of all that is lived our by humanity. We become aware, through our various disciplines, that we often free ourselves from one set of limitations only to be held by another, such as too much pride in the discipline itself.
But the time has come, we may feel, when mankind can only progress safely with all the knowledge and technology at it’s command, by being able to free itself from the thrall of such technology and its powers long enough to see clearly a vision of purpose which is resonant with the highest values we can hold and is not self-defeating. It is as if we have, say, three levels of time and value within our consciousness, like the hands of a clock on which the second hand is seen to move perceptibly the minute hand barely at all and the hour hand seems to be static. One attitude towards ourselves is entirely bound up with the quick moving and obvious content of life, while another is from time to time able to look at ourselves in an historical context which is barely moving, but, all too rarely are we able to take up the attitude of the hour hand which is outside historical time and within a more timeless world of principles. Yet we are also saying in our argument that we cannot take a proper view of the world of principles unless we can stand clear of the whole clock, upon some further dimension of reality which can describe to us a valid individuality but also needs us to participate in it as deeply as possible.
The attitude of our Creator which we are trying to describe is one which requires the utmost from us in terms of individuality, maturity, friendship and wisdom. It is an attitude which sees us as potential companions in the endless exploration of the possibilities of the Divine Spirit, and this means in terms which include that which is within creation and also that which is outside creation; for creation we are now seeing to be a temporary ground on which the first part of God’s desire may be brought to fruition, namely the bringing to birth of new individuals who are both children and friends. The second part of that desire is that there should be more friends and fewer children, and these should then enter freely into the growth towards further knowledge and definition of what we feel to be the endless potentiality of Divine Absolute Spirit. Not because growth is an end in itself, which could appear to be the beginning of a sort of megalomania, but because growth is an intrinsic part of the delight and aliveness of the spirit we all share. It is this part of our nature which sorties forth from the maintenance condition of love and unitedness of our spiritual society, which we can think of as centred upon a family situation in which our God will ever be the most responsible and leading member. But if His plan succeeds he will at last be able to drop the name of God, for we will all be Godlets and He will be glad to receive from us a name and a place in our relationships which is more personal and endearing.
Although we have mentioned creation and the life we find ourselves in here on earth, we are really still considering why there should be any form of creation at all or any life on earth. Yet, paradoxically, it is precisely because we have experienced this life on earth that we may be in a position to understand with detachment and objectivity what we are achieving here which can show us the reason behind our Creators great work. In order to do this we will have to progress step by step through the principles that we can understand to be necessary to provide the best conditions to satisfy that which we feel to be the greatest purpose that love itself can have. In doing this we have to beg the question over whether our God is a God of love or not. If He is not, then all our reasoning will be thrown into confusion and we will very probably not be at all keen to known anything further about Him or his motives anyway. For we may all know for ourselves that it is only love which provides this keenness, and only love which creates a space for us to consider such things in which is free from fear.
Let us then examine love and look at the type of love which is self-contained and the type of love which requires another individual to love before it can express itself in a living condition. In fact we must ask ourselves if self-contained love can ever be what we understand that word love to mean. We may well arrive at the conclusion that the term self-contained love is a contradiction of is own meaning, or we may temper this with an understanding of the relativity of the nature of love and suggest that it is in fact a spectrum of value with a correct attitude of non-self-containment at the other, with a consequent mixture of these attitudes in between. This latter suggestion is the more appealing since we observe the phenomenon in our earthly experience of psychology that one does not like other people unless one also likes oneself.
Another way to express the last point is to recognise that we cannot give value to other individuals unless we feel instinctively that we are carrying sufficient value within ourselves to be the arbiters of such judgements towards others. If we lack confidence about the ground that we judge others from then they will feel this weakness in the expression of that judgement. When we love others, we are saying that we judge them to be loveable and thus to carry within their individual reality a set of qualities of great value. If we do not feel that we also carry those values in our own understanding, we do not have the means of measurement from which any judgement can arise. So self-contained love is one of the requisites for the whole expression of love, but on its own it would seem to be unbalanced and only a part of what the nature of love means to us. This other expression which love needs is somehow expressed in what we can call the confirmation and recognition of our lovableness through an independent other person. It is precisely here that we see most clearly that the value of this other need is not fully met unless this other person is mature enough to perceive our values and sufficiently detached from us to constitute a proper otherness. If there is dependence between us and the other person, the signs we look for in him of the expression of this love are bound to be clouded by the others awareness that he is dependent in some way. With the strength of full maturity and independence, this problem is resolved and also the truly independent Divine Person becomes a more fruitful source of originality.
It would be as well if we could make a summary of these principles which govern the nature of love and which cause it to fulfil itself across this spectrum of its nature. For the principles may appear to us to be reasonably specific, and when we add them together, we may arrive at a much fuller understanding of what the term Divine Aspiration or Longing or Purpose can signify. The difficulty being that in our present human condition we confuse the simple phrase ‘Divine Longing’ with our experience of passing fancy and unpredictable desire which so confounds all our efforts to live purposeful lives. These Divine Longings for fulfilment are of an order of integrity, affection, creativity and beneficence that our imagination can hardly begin to behold. Yet try we must, or we will not achieve our own sense of fulfilment or be able to gather up the gifts of life which we are being offered.
Love is both ‘self’ oriented and ‘other’ oriented.
Love needs a ‘maintenance’ condition and a ‘growth’ condition.
Other selves have value for one another to the degree that they are
There is only one love nature and that is Divine.
To the degree that we live according to this nature we belong to the Divine Family as children or friends.
This Divine love must not be confused with the parodies of it which exist in our human condition.
We do not have eternal reality as individuals unless we earn the membership of the Divine Species and choose to remain within Its judgement of what is good.
We are finding that the point at which we started our discussion has changed from one which many people would think to be absurd, to one which can stand a reasonable and close-knit argument capable of carrying within it the motivations that we ourselves have experience of in the higher and more valuable characteristics of our own nature. We may begin to suggest that the nature of love is now only the one sure thread that relates us to one another and to our Creator, but it is also the means by which we can at least propose a valid understanding of the motive through which creation was undertaken at all. In doing this we realise that we are by-passing all those people whose opinions do not allow them to visualise or believe in a purposeful creation or creator. But to discuss fruitfully the possibilities of the philosophical perspectives which we are drawing attention to, it seems necessary to confine ourselves to those people who already possess a wordless agreement of experience at this fundamental level of their consciousness. We can only ‘preach’ to the converted; but we are not so much ‘preaching’ as looking at an area speculation which we may not have felt free to speculate in profitably.
The God we are trying to understand is a living God. There are many dead gods in our culture. The most common one is never described in any specific way and yet it is a part of the attitude which most ‘educated’ people bring to bear on our present day civilisation. This is the mechanical feedback god. This God is ‘given worth’ or ‘worship’ through the type of thinking which sees all the phenomena of life in terms of an endless series of computer functions. Such an attitude never admits to a state of true consciousness being present in any event, but only to a series of learned responses which are truly a form of machinery. In such a frame of understanding nothing is ever real in its own right but everything is an effect of one set of things and the cause of another and in itself is left worthless and empty. What we would take to be our own consciousness is not admitted by this thought. Instead we are taught that what appeared to us to be consciousness is in fact a series of electrical and chemical connections in the physical brain which compute from storage circuits the patterns of behaviour which have occurred to us. Such patterns are therefore the complete effectiveness of our identity so that we have become the sum of what has happened to us. Thus we ourselves are nothing but a playback system to other playback systems, and all and everything is thus made out to be a complex build-up of accidents which are remembered by the system. There can be no such thing as individual effort or merit in this ‘scientific’ system and there is no way that we can be creative. What appears in us to be creative is the result of circuits of behaviour which have built up to a degree that they then begin to give off, in a mechanical way (because they can’t help it), further patterns for further circuits. This is the dreadful and insidious picture of reality which knowledgeable men are teaching as the proper education for our day and age.
I have used the word dreadful in the last paragraph, because what has now become a common, but often unspoken, attitude in our way of life results in the opposite sense of values to the ones which we arrive at if we believe that we do possess a non-mechanical source of consciousness from which mechanical responses to life situations can be eliminated. It thus becomes possible for me, if living by faith in my God-like reality given to me by the living God and Creator of all creation, to know that I am inserting a deliberate and intentional expression of behaviour in amongst other patterns of behaviour which are otherwise partly mechanical or purely mechanical. I can learn to observe exactly where I can inject my true autonomy into life and where I can allow life to behave in a reactive way, according to the mechanical feed-back response nature that it does possess. The point at issue is whether I have the ‘faith’ in my identity as a God-like Being which allows me to make my responses to life from that purely numinous reality of awareness and consciousness, or whether that ability has been crippled in me by the insinuations of the culture I have grown up in that such free and responsible behaviour can only be an illusion.
It is the more scientific members of our society who have suggested the mechanical and accidental model of our life. Those who lead us in social and political matters ask a great deal more from us in terms of individual responsibility and problem solving; but they argue their case in terms that are almost entirely concerned with the ‘second hand of the clock’ view of life’s purpose, thus throwing us our of context with the deeper and more universal attitudes of our nature, which again are treated as though they did not exist or are governed by a system over which we have no control. These deeper attitudes can only come to us, as a means of solving our problems, if we allow the time values that stem from the minute hand and the hour hand into our deliberations. The religious and spiritual nature which deals with these more timeless qualities must be seen by us to be the heart and lungs of our whole body of life and not some strange aberration or emotional illness which has no respectable link with researched and proven data and knowledge of the physical and social sciences. We are not arguing against these researches, but simply against them failing to set their findings within the context of man'’ whole significance by which failure they often add to the fragmentation rather than the integration of our sense of purpose and value.
The terms God-like Being and ordinary human being together with the terms Living God and dead god are necessary to define the position of victory or defeat which will inevitably stem from our faith in the one or the other. The word faith is often used as though it only applied to the spiritual and religious areas of life, but it is in fact the master key which decides exactly which doors we will open in every area of our experience. The scientist who keeps his attention focused upon the measurable elements of life is using exactly the same faith that the religious man is using to respond to the most ethereal levels of consciousness. The one is saying that he doubts all things until they can be proven and the other that he believes all things until they are disproven.
Neither of these two positions of faith to doubt all things or believe all things are ever achieved by us. For all people unwittingly believe in many things outside their conscious area of faith. Similarly we all have unrealised areas of doubt in amongst our areas of faith. But faith itself is a very vital ingredient within our nature for without it we would not be able to put one foot in front of the other, let alone design a space voyage to the moon or compose a musical symphony. Faith says ‘yes I can’, and in doing this releases our potentiality to become a primary cause and cease to be a mechanical effect. In the spiritual sense it includes the ability of the Creator to act in concert with our own effort. In the humanist sense it gives full worth to our individual ability. In the sense in which we are trying to understand the purpose behind creation we see that we need both forms of faith. For if we are to become companionable to our Creator we have to have faith in the independence and worth of our own spirit, whilst at the same time having a similar faith in the spirit of our God. As individuals, our Personal God and each of us have to have faith, and that is in the Absolute Divine Spirit, the ‘Species’ that we have all individualised out of and which is the everlasting ground upon which we are able to ‘Be’ together.
It can now be seen that faith is the fulcrum upon which action can be injected in an original and intentional way into the continuum of awareness in our own nature and the nature of others. Without this fulcrum we are only in the position of observing the interaction of behaviour patterns in ourselves and others. With it, we halt the stream of action and reaction that pervades our individual beingness and we can then express some comment that is truly our own. From which comments we become real to ourselves and to others, from which reality we learn to have a great respect and gladness towards each other.
As we know, faith may be the key which opens the doors in our individual mansions and our Creator’s mansion, but because the doors are open we must not assume that there is necessarily anything ready to be expressed behind those doors. If our Creator had furnished all our rooms as well as building our house we cannot say that there is much space left for our own self-induced individuality, and without that uniqueness of our own making we can never become the valuable unknown quantity of friendship that is the delightful and creative potency we can hold for this Creator and our other brothers and sisters. For we must remember that we are offering this understanding of mature friendship as being the primary purpose behind the whole creation. We suggested at the beginning of our discussion that we were about to look at the possibility that our Creators great art would express itself in the ability to lead out our potentiality in such a way that it would gradually take upon itself the initiative to continue the process towards becoming more and more mature in character, ability, affection, friendship and integrity. This gradual and continuing process would be the one which would furnish each room as we learn to open and use each door. So that faith is the key to the proper use of all our other attributes, it is the prime mover which liberates our full sense of valuing, aspiring, idealising, dreaming and imagining, for which the rational part of our nature must learn to create the fitting means of expression. Such become our furnishings within the rooms we love to share with others, and such are the fruits of this university we find ourselves in when we learn to use it rightly.
Yet we must keep before us the fact that our Creator’s rooms are probably many and very well furnished. Nevertheless it would not be wise of Him to introduce them too directly for such knowledge must surely numb our own efforts if it came too soon. But no doubt a quick peep now and again would act as a real incentive, as does the interchange between our fellow students of this great university.
We are observing that it is possible that the great beauty and love which characterises the nature of our Creator cannot stop short of wanting to give to each of His children all that it is possible to give. This possibility depends entirely upon our ability to receive. But what we should look at most clearly is that the gift passes through the child-like phase, in which the parental relationship must be dominant and authoritative, to a mature phase in which our Creator is trying to withdraw that dominance and authority and replace it with equality and friendship. As we develop faith, together with maturity of understanding, so we become wise and creative and thus companionable to our God, which we can imagine this reward to be the prime motivation for all manifestation. However in understanding that faith is the key to our active participation in this growth situation, we will realise that it is also the key to power which may enhance or diminish not only our friends but also the Divine Spirit itself. Therefore in order to avoid the damage we might inadvertently cause, and avoid the necessary censure that the Absolute Divine Spirit must exercise in order to preserve the integrity of the Divine Species, our family, we must learn to exercise the creative and experimental side of our nature with the utmost responsibility. Whereas we can see that such responsibility is a proper part of the perfect love of friendship which holds us all within it’s harmonising and caring spirit, we must never forget that the express element in a situation of exploration or experimentation is one of detachment from the maintenance aspect of love. For only by temporarily freeing ourselves from conditioning factors can we explore into something new and it is just on these occasions that we are in the most vulnerable condition in which, for an instant, we may be obsessed with the excitement of the newness we confront to the extent that we override caution, integrity and wisdom. In that brief instant it is, unfortunately, possible for an aberration to occur in our nature whose effects spread throughout our attitudes like lightning, but, most importantly, without our being aware of the fact. Such a temporary disharmony in our spirit carries the dangerous potencies of disease which can cripple ourselves and can infect others. To the extent that we recognise this factor as a possibility we become responsible and can hold within our nature deeper levels of wisdom. But so long as we treat it lightly, then just so long will we fail to understand the whole situation at issue in becoming friends and co-creators with our God. If we are not of the Divine Nature and to those friends of greater maturity who share life with us and to that greatest friend, our Creator, then we are exhibiting signs of foolishness and arrogance which say, to such mature friends, that we are not yet ready for the greatness of the gift for which they are trying to prepare us.
The points we have discussed can be summarised as follows:
1. Gods are both living and dead.
2. Living Gods are non-mechanical while dead gods are all mechanical.
3. Faith is a fulcrum.
4. This fulcrum is a point of ‘leverage’ outside the mechanical activity of creation.
5. The Great gift we are being offered includes our individuality, objective understanding and use of our fulcrum.
6. Such a gift makes us a ‘God’ and hence a companion and friend of our Creator.
7. The growth nature of this friendship requires of us the utmost responsibility and integrity.
8. The Divine Spirit must guard against the misuse of Its nature for all our sakes.
If we now remain in the condition of imagination which tries to understand how Creator felt and thought before creation began, we can begin to appreciate the nature of the problems which confronted Him. If He was to bring into a condition of individual and unique self-consciousness other beings with whom He could live as a friend and an equal, then He had to discover a way of ‘planting’ seperate seeds of the Divine Spirit in conditions which would encourage them to grow into seedlings, plants and fruitful trees. This part of the work would produce individuals who were all the same. If the unique individuality was forced on these beings by preconditioning their seed nature, then the Creator would be manufacturing the character of these beings, in which case they would be controlled from the start and forced to become the ‘person’ that the Creator thought up for them. We understand that this would nullify the primary requisites of the Creators love and longing.
The other factor confronting our Creator was to find a method not only of allowing the uniqueness in each individual to arise spontaneously, but to add to it an education which would enable the Divine Person to understand the significance of its nature. This means to have a value system in its consciousness which would be true to the quality of the Divine Spirit of the Divine Species that all would belong to. And yet this value system would have to permit the unique combination of characteristics which each person accumulated and, above all, it would have to achieve a degree of detachment, or objectivity, which would enable it to know why each value was valuable.
We can appreciate just how difficult but how important these latter conditions would be towards the great art of bringing real friends into existence rather than artificial ones. We can realise that elementary patterns of behaviour can be taught by instruction to intelligent beings and appreciation of elementary qualities can be pointed out to such beings. But, if these qualities have to progress beyond the elementary phase and be added to initiative and uniqueness, then the teaching situation becomes more difficult. And if we add to this the fact that each quality of great value has to be very thoroughly understood; to the extent that it is learned through being experienced at first hand, then another and most profoundly difficult problem confronts the educational system. For if we take any quality of fundamental value to our nature such as love, kindness, joy and beauty, none of these aspects of our reality can be appreciated unless they are lived by us, and neither can they be objectively assessed unless their opposites are encountered as well. For how can we know the significance of joy unless we have experienced the feeling of misery, or how to appreciate beauty without having confronted ugliness and so on? We mislead ourselves if we think that we can become mature and responsible if we for ever confine ourselves to only one side of learning. For to know that one thing is more beautiful or more joyful than another is simple, but to know the true value of even a little joy requires us to know of that opposite quality of misery in order to give it experienced texture and weight in our fundamental knowing.
And now another factor can be looked at, and that is a process in our education which will give us the necessary strength in the upholding of this unique individuality and its objective system of values. And here again, our intelligence will tell us that, if such strength is to be real unto itself, in order that the individual can carry the reality of Divine friendship for another, then such strength can only be gained by encounters with opposition. The definition of strength, in this respect, is that it is the ability of the individual to express and have faith in the most valued qualities of its nature. If the individual can lose sight of such qualities, or knowingly resign responsibility for them, then this would be a mark of insufficient strength in that individual. This type of strength is not the lower order one which we are more often aware of in this world; which is considered to be, like a steam roller, concerned to go its own way at the expense of crushing and pushing aside all opposition. This is not strength but force and, while the former is allied to spiritual integrity, the latter is only concerned with having its own way. Such manipulators of force are strong in their own wilfulness, but such wilfulness is itself the result of weakness, fear and anxiety. This anxiety is most likely to be based on the two fundamental needs which our sense of ‘ego’ requires, and they are; firstly, to feel confident that we are ‘real’ and secondly, that this reality is ‘valuable’. Strong individuals, in the higher sense, are those who are confident enough about their own reality and its value to become willing rather than wilful. They are not at pains to defend themselves from the discovery of any emptiness or non-reality of their ‘self’, and there is no need in them to force a sense of substitute reality and value onto their surroundings before they can feel safe.
Another way of drawing attention to the significance of strength is to realise that, if we believe that we possess a particular valuable quality, but discover that a situation arises in which we lose it, then that quality was never properly possessed by us. In other words, we only properly possess qualities of character when they are so embedded in our nature that they can never be lost. Such ‘possessions’ are an intrinsic part of our ultimate unique Divine Individuality and we are not strong in that reality until it is unassailable. If our schooling is designed by our Creator to produce the real individual out of the potential of our Divine Seed, then it must include in its programme situations of increasing resistance to that spirit, which can match the objectivity and strength required. If our Creator wishes us to have relatively total independent reality, in relation to himself, in order that we can partake of the most gladdening maintenance and growth forms of love, then our spirit will have to withstand the severest form of opposition in order to discover in itself a similar degree of strength, faith and confidence.
It would be quite wrong for us now to jump to the conclusion that God has encouraged ‘evil’ in His University in order to supply this very encounter of opposition as a part of the curriculum. The reality must be much more subtle than this, and very important for us to understand. It would be a harsh and ungracious person who would create a system of education in which he deliberately cultivated evil for his children to face. It would not only be a violation of love towards the children who opposed it, but it would be an even greater violation of love towards those in whom the evil was cultivated. But there is another way in which evil can arise in the educational system which does not contradict the nature of the educator, and that is to allow the full function of freedom of initiative, invention and exploration, for this will surely lead to mistakes occurring, out of which the quality of evil will quickly grow, as we have mentioned before. In this way, the recognition of the wrong use of our Divine Nature, and the experience of the unpleasantness of the repercussions, will lead to a desire to correct the error. Thus the full cycle of divine integrity and responsibility can be experienced in which error breeds evil, which is recognised as distasteful and which leads to the discovery of the means of correction.
If such a cycle of error was disallowed in the Creator’s educational system, then there would be little hope of a fully mature individual arising from it, for none of us would have been able to observe the whole panorama of our nature from which we could make those far-reaching assessments which form the basis of our objective knowledge of value. Without which knowledge we cannot be ultimately real to one another or in a position to make comments of any interest to our Creator or our other eternal friends.
So we have arrived at the need for, and proper allowance for, the principal of trial and error. If what we call evil was prohibited, then the process of trial and error would have to be severely restricted and our potential growth to full maturity restricted in consequence.
Our Creator would have to have considered this matter before He designed his creative scheme, for this scheme had to be a university of sorts if it was to succeed in leading out the unique, responsible, knowing, affectionate and strong individual whose friendship could be won by Him. We have already realised that any experimenting which individuals wish to carry out, which might produce results which are not good in the sight of the Divine Spirit, must be done in an isolated situation in order that the good can be sifted from the bad to avoid infecting other beings or diminishing the overall quality of the Divine Species. Thus we can see that our Creator had to think of a way of designing His University so that it would contain rooms in which experience could occur which would, at the same time, have a graded quality of opposition to the individual student and a graded degree of isolation from one another. The most isolated rooms may also contain the most ‘viscous’ medium for the spirit to live in, thus drawing out all forms of strength from that spirit. Or, they might be less viscous, or ‘heavy’, if the experimental side of the work was to be more important than the strengthening side.
The meaning of the words viscous and heavy, in this regard, is that the atmosphere, or medium, in which the vehicles of individual consciousness were to operate, would be either quickly responsive to the spirit. That medium which is slow, we can say, belongs to a condensed, low frequency and non-mobile form of environment which would require similar vehicles of consciousness to be in tune with its type of expression. While that medium which is quick belongs to an ethereal, high frequency, short wave, highly mobile environment, in which consciousness will require bodies or vehicles of a similar nature. If the Creator requires a school which will introduce us to these different grades of experience, then we can imagine that He will plan to create a series of conditions of manifestation which contain several intermediate grades between the highest and the lowest.
Our Creator could have developed a picture in His imagination that would satisfy all these basic needs in His creative scheme. Such a picture may have resembled the layer by layer make up of an onion, with the highest frequency level of manifestation at the centre, from which more restrictive layers of environmental habitat could have projected, as required, until the series was completed by the most concrete conditions in which our Creator considered His children could exist at all. This point of maximum viscosity was considered to be the point of balance between His desire to maximise the seperateness and difficulty of experience, and the love and care which would not want to lose any such children among the difficulties and misunderstandings which would arise from such experience. He considered that our spirits could not withstand any greater tension and potential difference between their innermost sensibility of the Divine Qualities and the lack of responsiveness in their bodies and environment. But this tension was a measure of the potency and thoroughness of the educational method, and the strength of the desire to be able to win the friendship of whole and thoroughly independent beings, rather than partly mature and partly independent beings. For the easier the environment and the easier the lessons learned, the less thoroughly would they be understood and assimilated.
To summarise this discussion:
1. To achieve uniqueness and maturity we need full knowledge.
2. Full knowledge requires objectivity.
3. Objectivity requires the experience of both potencies of knowledge - the correct and the incorrect.
4. To draw out potentiality, and the strength to carry it, resistance is required.
5. The degree of resistance which we are able to withstand will be a measure of our capacity to become a ‘complete’ friend.
We are looking at the problems facing a god whose love is so great that He is not able to make do with any situation but the most complete one when He is considering what He can give to His children. We are beginning to understand that by desiring to give us the whole gift of our own reality, in order that our friendship would be totally real to one another and to Himself, our God is forced to take up a position in which His hands are tied. For the essence of the whole gift is that for each of us it contains the freedom in which we can become unique in our own reality, and strong enough in it to be able to support ourselves upon the Divine Ground of Absolute Being. Only thus would we have received the unreserved gladness of giving, which is the measure of great love. Once the subtlety and beauty of this situation dawns upon our understanding, we will realise the truth which exists in these equations of Beingness which we have been looking at. When this happens, we will once again be able to have faith in, and love towards, our Creator and Friend, but to a degree of completeness which comes from being able to appreciate the magnitude of the task He set Himself.
If we continue to imagine how the Creator set about satisfying all these conditions necessary to His great longing, then we can see that He not only had to bring into existence a series of schoolrooms, but also a staff to teach in them. Such a staff would themselves have had to be taught in the first place, and so the problem rebounds upon itself. The only way our of this situation would be to split the problem in half in such a way that the work could begin in a condition of compromise. As the work progressed it may then become possible to bring the two aspects of the teaching and learning situation together again so that the compromise was at last overcome.
One way of overcoming this is to use the series of schoolrooms in a way which they are not used in our human condition. That is to have two opposite curricula for two different sets of pupils, one starting at the top, or sixth form, and the other starting at the bottom, or first form. In this way the sixth formers could be taught, by direct experience, the immediately beautiful characteristics of the
heavenly environment and personality qualities of God. They could be taught indirectly what their job would consist of in acting as staff in the other increasingly difficult environment. We know ,however, that the education they received in this way would be limited and one-sided. They would not know what the concept ‘difficult’ could mean, for instance, until it actually began to happen to them. Then, they might find that they did not possess the strength that heaven had made them feel they possessed. And thus they might find, as things became difficult in the lowest classrooms, that they had to be extremely careful not to become bemused or distracted by conditions for which they were unprepared, or could only withstand for short periods. The other set of pupils would be placed in the most resistive first form condition as it was prepared and made ready for them; and this might be some long time after the sixth form was ready for use. However, we can visualise that by presenting this second set of children, as pupils, in the lowest form, which differs in many respects from the sixth form, they would be faced with a situation we can call ‘unheaven’. For the strong qualities of heaven would be muted by the sensation of being set apart from any dominant Creator, and being unaware of His person. Because of this we would expect such pupils to have to manage, in their own way, to cope with the many difficulties of existence and understanding of reality and purpose assisted by the sixth formers, who were themselves still learning how to apply their knowledge of heaven to the conditions of unheaven.
The point at issue here is that the ‘heavenly’ set of pupils would be learning about the immediate experience of Divine qualities, whilst not being introduced to the full significance of separate individuality and uniqueness, and the strength necessary to carry such independence. They would be relying upon being able to do as they had been taught and told. The second set of pupils would, unknowingly, be preparing themselves for the strength and independence of character of the whole Divine Gift, but they would be lacking the immediate recognition of the beauty of God’s nature and would not see the reason for doing as they were told by the sixth formers. Unless love and desire encouraged them to obey, they would be more inclined to start questioning the validity of such obedience and so they would need to know the beginnings of the whole vision, which is not to be found in any one classroom, but only in the sum of all of them. In their effort to meet the needs of their ‘younger’ brothers, the sixth formers would also be driven towards the whole vision, so that they too could be completely aware of the validity of what they taught and understood. The sixth formers would eventually come up against the realisation that they themselves were young in ways in which the first formers were more mature, and, the first formers would come to realise the paradox of the situation in terms of maturity from two different directions of knowledge, that of ‘heaven’ and that of ‘unheaven’.
Now the modification of the original compromise can begin to be undone, for the two halves of the teaching of the whole truth are coming together. Out of this we may expect a steady number of pupils to arise who understand the teaching which is not of ‘men’ or of ‘angels’, but is whispered by our Friend Himself. Those who realise this greater gift can then become the teaching staff of the original and whole plan.
We know that there are great differences between the conditions of these two sets of children and pupils in the university which the Creator intended to bring into existence. The sixth formers would quickly know that they were children of God, and God would be with them in person to talk to them about it. They would be given a sense of their eternal reality in the Divine Family from the very first, and all things would feel very good to them. They would be content and at peace, and so they would never know of any desire to change, wither for better or worse. The growth side of their nature of love would thus be hidden from them, and even the idea of friendship would be meaningless to them; although they would all love one another spontaneously.
The first formers however would come to themselves slowly, and in an environment where nothing was immediately obvious. The idea of who they were would never occur to them unless they were told. As far as they were concerned, they had to see to the function and needs of the very real and restrictive body with which they would be completely identified. This body would have to relate to its surroundings, which had an element of resistance or inertia in every aspect of its nature. Things would grow and decay around them, and they themselves would be aware that their days were numbered. Some things would come to feel very good to them and others they would learn to avoid since they caused physical pain or a sense of unease. This sense of unease would, itself, begin an exploratory and growth situation in them, for they would be constantly looking for ways of bettering their condition. And, since they were each the centre of their own sense of reality, they would also, quite unwittingly, begin work on the foundations of their unique individuality, its difference from others, its desires and longings; in fact, all the aspects which the sixth formers would be weak in. The weakness of the first formers would be in maintenance love.
As our Creator looks at this from His position before creation began, He is forced to observe another, and most delicate, equation of Beingness. He has to look at the equation which says that deep and valuable friendships can only exist with other individuals who have a deep set of their own characteristics. Only a ‘thin’ friendship can be experienced with a person who possesses only a ‘thin’ set of characteristics. Such characteristics must be either placed in His children, ready made, or they must be won by them through the function of their own initiative. In the first case, many of the characteristics known to our God could be programmed into His pupils, but God would know that such children were becoming more and more unreal the more they were programmed. Thus He would end up playing a game with Himself through the medium of puppets, and the real affection and friendship He longed for could never arise. In the second case, He could only put His children in a class room which would call forth initiative, and just hope that the Divine Seed Nature, and the influence of pain and joy, would guide them towards an attitude in which they would desire, of their own free will, to listen to what the sixth formers could tell them about things of which they had no knowledge. From this position free reasoning capacity, together with the knowledge of love and affection, could enable them to grow so that both ends of the spectrum of Divine love could come together in them and they could, finally, realise the significance of Divine Friendship.
As part of this equation, our Creator would have to observe that many of the most valuable qualities of highest friendship, such as self-sacrifice, compassion, integrity of love, could only be won under extreme conditions of resistance. They could only be truly won through experience, and such experience would necessitate the individual being confronted by the opposites of these qualities, such as selfishness, indifference to the suffering of others, integrity that broke its bond when the occasion suited, hatred, anger and cruelty.
Again, it would be quite wrong if our Creator were to consider programming these unpleasant qualities into the classrooms in any way at all. But He could look at another equation of Being, which would tell Him that the freedom and independence evoked in the first form classroom would lead His pupils to make mistakes which they should properly observe and correct themselves; for they were to depend heavily on the principle of trial and error for their education. Our Creator would also realise that the more the conditions of unheaven became viscous and resistive to the spirit, the more difficult it would be to correct mistakes, and the more unlikely it would be that the sixth formers would know enough to be able to cope. So our God would realise that the collective error, amounting to evil attitudes which would produce all these unpleasant qualities was likely. And yet He would know that such a complex mixture of experience, where a great variety of individuality was added to the expression of both good and bad attitudes, was exactly the one required to draw out the full potentiality of growth from His children. For the richness of experience available in such a classroom would supply sufficient nourishment of both good and bad elements to each individual that mature, objective judgement and reason could arise in them. Furthermore, He had not been required to introduce the experience of evil, it had been introduced by the spirit of initiative in the seed of His children as the misuse of talent and ability, and all the wrong assumptions which immaturity is heir to.
Should our Creator feel it was right to maximise the viscosity of the lower classrooms to the degree that such error could accumulate to become evil, or should He make such error virtually impossible by beginning the first form in an environment which was so like the sixth form, that the spirit in man would respond to it immediately with love, contentment and obedience to the guidance of the sixth formers; who only knew of conformity to ‘the good’ in Heaven and had not yet felt the Creators gladness in a completely independent and autonomous other person, ‘the friend’?
He was faced with the fact that ‘the friend’ was the greatest treasure, and only dearly could it be won. Did He feel justified in risking so much over this equation?
If our God had felt the nobility of this decision so much more keenly than we can feel it at this time, He must have cast his innermost wisdom upon the tenderest petals of His heart and His heart had said ‘Grace is in thy giving and thy uttermost longing, lead them forth to all truth, and let thy toil and thy love be to match it’.
Or did our God consider that such a total commitment should be carried out on a reduced scale because He could not be sure how it would work out, since the situation depended upon the unpredictable elements being encouraged to express themselves in man? If this is the case, then there is an event taking place on Earth which our Creator has very close to His heart, but which appears to His staff to be relatively meaningless and rather a failure. If this is the reason why it is true that ‘God so loved the world’, then at last we are beginning to understand why. For our old vision is only rather amazed that our God had not packed up and left the Earth long ago.
We realise that in these foregoing propositions we may be indulging in wishful thinking or even absurdity, and also that these ideas will come to many as distasteful towards the reverence and respect which such matters are usually given. But when we look at the whole picture of our western civilisation, we realise that mankind, in these areas, needs some deeper reason than he already has for recovering his ability to take himself seriously. And by seriously I mean to value his nature enough to want to know its deepest implications. And if we are suggesting that our God is not almighty, all knowing and all present, in the way we had thought, then this may be no bad thing; for it made Him appear too self-sufficient and too superior to our nature for us to be able to love Him. And if it turns our to be true that it is our friendship that He seeks, then this new image of God makes Him not only endearing but part of a sense of open-ended purposefulness which our spirits so badly need.
To summarise these propositions we can write them as follows:
1. The staff of the school, which creation would represent, could only be trained in one side of the work.
2. The pupils work would have to include the experience of the ‘other side’ of the whole curriculum.
3. Thus the meeting of the two opposites, beginning in the top and bottom classrooms, would bring about the ultimate vision of complete maturity.
4. Fully trained staff would gradually arise from the Divine Individuals mixing together as ‘angels’ and as ‘men’.
5. The result of this most testing situation could not be a forgone conclusion, for it depended upon a realness which must be complete to each individual.
6. In order to maximise the reality of this situation, our Creator had to allow us to produce the experience of evil out of our errors.
7. These errors could be brought about by the sixth formers as well as the first formers. 8. This experiment, of the total gift, may be an isolated one:
But if it is successful, it will cause a re-orientation of understanding in the rest of the University.
We will have noticed that in our human condition on Earth we constantly have to exercise two widely different response attitudes. We can describe these as the personal and the impersonal. In the everyday processes of collective living we have developed an acceptable collective behaviour pattern in which the unconsciously agreed values of society are expressed. We use this aspect of our nature while we are fulfilling all those public requirements and duties which make up such a large part of our lives. These impersonal responses are concerned with average attitudes towards politeness, honesty, fairness, responsibility, and most of our business and work situations. The personal aspect of our nature is reserved for the more intimate and trusted areas of our lives, within the narrower limits of our family and friends. The extremest form of personal behaviour is only expressed to a very few indeed. It is generally concerned with the most essential aspects of our Being which we have briefly mentioned before; the sense of being ‘real’, and the sense of that reality being ‘valuable’. These personalised and impersonalised forms of expression are not only reserved for the lower ego level of our Being, but will also apply to the Spiritual Essence nature of our Individuality, which is the nature in us which can receive the Great Gift. So the word personal is rather confusing in this respect, and it may be better if we try to think in terms of its ultimate use as in the ‘individual’ and ‘collective’ aspects of the one Divine Life, which is the main concern of our discussion.
So here is yet another spectrum of understanding to be considered by our Creator in the design of His University and its curriculum. This spectrum has at one end of it the responses and values appertaining to the uniqueness of the individual, and, at the other end, the responses and values appertaining to the collective; with a continuous blending of these two extremes between. And 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 o 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. 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.
We are now beginning to build up a complex picture of the various equations and spectra of Being which our God had to take into consideration when He planned to give us all that it was in His power to give.
The spectra of....
1. Self-oriented.................................................. Other-oriented.
2. Maintenance................................................... Growth
3. Correct........................................................... Incorrect
4. Sixth form downwards................................... First from upwards
Individual (Personal).....................................Collective (Impersonal)
The equations of....
1. To the degree that we live according to this nature we enter eternal life.
2. As children or friends, we are only real so far as we are not programmed but allowed free choice.
3. We can only be free if we are somewhat removed from the immediacy of Our Creators Person.
4. We can only gather the full strength of individuality in an environment which is resistive.
5. The greater the resistance the spirit can withstand, the more potentialities may be drawn out of its nature.
6. ‘Deep’ friendship can only exist between individuals who possess a ‘deep’ set of characteristics.
The Full Cycle
7. The whole gift requires us to be acquainted with evil, to recognise it and be able to overcome it.
8. The curriculum needs to limit freedom of error, which accumulates as evil, to the extent that we can overcome it if we wish.
9. The correct staff, who can teach the whole curriculum, can only arise out of the mixing of the sixth formers and first formers whose experiences are complementary parts of the whole.
If our conjectures and propositions about the problems facing our Creator whilst He was designing this Day of Creation are correct, then we perceive that there are truly tragic and heroic qualities required, together with an open inconclusiveness, which are very far from the ‘all powerful’ and ‘pre-ordained’ model we have tried to understand up to now. We can see that the whole university needed to be designed in such a way that there would be a curriculum laid down upon which both sets of pupils would continue to work until opportunities occurred through which our Creator could introduce the ‘extra-curricula’ activities which were nearest to His great hope and desire. But the openings for these higher understandings could only come if the initiative of the pupils provided it. Thus we see that the concept of Creation which we are looking at would be designed to respond to original individual efforts on the part of those engaged in it, which could alter the conditions and outcome at any instant. It is just here, again, that we are facing up to a real living God, who is capable of real, living responses and wishes us to be creatively responsive too. Instead of an enormous immutable, monolithic construction, we can begin to expect that creation is a delicate and responsive, plant-like life, which will go on feeling monolithic to its pupils so long as their attitude is monolithic too. But the fruits of creation may be few and relatively insipid, or many and richly flavoured. The responsibility for the production of the one or the other must be made real, and must depend on how much of our own reality each of us can win for the good of the whole.
As for the teaching staff, we can imagine that it would be possible to prepare them, to some extent, for the task they had to face, but as we have said, this preperation would be carried out in the higher classrooms where there would be no experience of what hindrance, opposition and misunderstanding could mean. As for the evil which accumulated error might produce, such encounter would come as a terrible shock to beings who were reared on sublime beneficence and love. In order for these members of staff to mix closely with the lower level of pupils, they would need to become accustomed to a heavy and difficult vehicle of consciousness like the one their pupils were to use, and this would ‘filter out’ much of the immediacy of the Divine qualities and, after a long term of use, it may cause a considerable degree of forgetfulness.
The staff of the university would seem, to the pupils of the first form, to be of two types, those who came and mixed with them in a physical form and taught and explained things to them day by day, and those who, more rarely, visited the physical classrooms for some specific purpose, who would be wearing a non-physical form, whose visit would be very brief. This latter type of staff we have now come to call Angels, and the former have been referred to variously as prophets, men of God, teachers, gurus and masters.
It appears that, since the original curriculum was laid down after the schoolrooms had been manifested, error has indeed mounted up on Earth to the extent that our whole atmosphere and the bodies we inhabit, are far more dense and difficult to manage than at first. Thus we have arrived at a situation which has made life for the pupils and teaching for the staff very difficult, but, at the same time, has fulfilled many of the requirements, explained in our summary, for the giving of the ‘whole’ gift by our Creator to his children. The tension is so great, between the highest and lowest on Earth, that it is indeed capable of drawing out of us those extra strengths and individual motivations which will enable us to comprehend the eternal value of ‘the friend’, and the endless creative context of Divine friendships between one another and our God. To put a simple word on this, the mixture of the ‘soup’ of experience is so richly contrasted on Earth that it now possesses, at least for a while, the necessary potency for making the ‘jump’ in our understanding directly into the Creators great wish for us. The degree of intelligence, initiative and individuality is strong enough in many people for them to realise the factors which alone could be sufficient in the highest planning of our Living and Loving God.
It is also possible that the very love and tenderness of our God will, itself, bring a limit to this state of tension and suffering. So although He knows that He is very near to meeting the strong, leathery, craggy, wise and affectionate friends He longs for, He will again tie His own hands by trying to alleviate these temporary and very potent conditions. Whilst one side of God’s nature will be glad that the ‘spiritedness’ of our spirit exercised its initiative to the extent that it has tried to become too independent and self-sufficient, the other side of God’s nature will suffer compassionately with his children and pupils and will, in some way, work to defuse the extremity of the tensions and pains until they can be approached again with more understanding, making the tensions acceptable and constructive. In the meantime the chances are that sufficient of God’s children will have become His Friends to form the nucleus of teachers and understanders capable of reading His whole heart, and able to explain it to others. Whether there are other places in the university which have provided the necessary complex of conditions for this understanding will remain to be seen. But, since so much depends upon just the right attitudes within the freedom of the pupils, it is a possibility that the situation is a rare one.
And so we step from the consideration of the conditions which our Creator faced before creation began to the consideration that He planned His teaching system in such a way that it could ‘change gear’ from a lesser one to a greater one whilst it was in progress and that the conditions have become ripe for such a change.
To summarise the foregoing:
1. The personal and impersonal relationships available to us.
2. The spectra and equations of Being.
3. The Responsive Universe in which we can win much or little for the good of the whole.
4. The accumulation of error on the part of pupils and staff, leading to the thick ‘soup’ of experience.
5. The potency of this ‘soup’ may be sufficient for it to provide the jump required to reach into God’s whole longing for us.
6. If we succeed in ‘changing gear’ in our sense of purpose, we may well influence much of the rest of the University.
It will seem to many readers that this ‘go it alone’ attitude is both arrogant and foolish because on earth we are all living with such reduced visibility, we could not possibly move in any constructive direction without constant guidance from higher levels of existence from which more of the game can be seen. And so if we look at our problems from the every-day situation we are in at this moment, instead of from the position of the Creator’s deliberations before it all began, we feel it is all very well to discuss such high-flown possibilities but they have hardly any bearing upon the pressing problems and responsibilities which come to us from all directions. However, we are not saying that the guidance and help from the sixth formers is wrong or not available. What we are saying is that there is a way of seeing guidance as a means of helping us in daily activity, which, at the same time, is not being used to invalidate our initiative and individuality but to enhance it. We can also realise that the attitude of friendship between our God and ourselves, and between the sixth formers and ourselves, is also supplemented by the growing number of first formers who can now help us whilst they are temporarily living in higher levels of creation between lives on earth. For there must be first and sixth formers who are now becoming wise in the ways of earth and heaven and so producing this deeper objectivity of understanding which is necessary to full maturity of spirit.
We are therefore at the beginning of a deeper understanding of God’s purpose and friendship for us, which is looking to the future of mankind rather than to the immediate conditions of to-day. For there will have to be a marked improvement in the general attitude of our society before many people will be ready to consider the possibility of the conjectures. But those few people who are prepared to give them thought may supply a necessary impetus to get closer to our God than we have assumed to be possible.
We have three distinct situations on earth at present if we follow these arguments. There is the original spiritual religion being taught by the Divine-Human sixth formers. There is the new and more demanding ‘Divine Friendship Teaching’ just beginning, and there is the ‘Rescue Teaching’ which takes many elementary and rather crude forms in order to hold out a life-line to those many Souls who are in danger of being swamped by the difficulties and complexities of the present classroom situation. This rescue level of activity has not received our attention, but it means that the errors which have accumulated as evil, have been so overwhelming for many of the younger Souls among us that temporary, unsophisticated and often misleading methods are being tried to start these pupils, at least in some way ‘consciously’ to engage in the work of the first form. The wrong orientations of these more easily grasped teachings can be corrected later on, so long as the initial effort is made to begin the journey of spiritual development. Otherwise, we may suspect that the time is shortly coming when the non-responders will be seperated from the responders in order that the painful tensions now present on earth can be reduced according to the compassion of our God. Thus the pupils who are trying to progress will cease to be held back by the pupils who still resist the path to unselfishness and responsibility. These latter will have to begin again the work of the first form in some other place and dimension, seperately from those who are ready to learn. The thickness of ‘the soup’ will then be lost again, its supremely testing efficacy will be dissipated and the pain, which has torn at the heart of God, will be reduced and what we call a golden age will repay the sorely tried Earth Spirit for all Her patience.
We must be careful how we understand our own creative participation with our Creator, for here we can also become too quick in jumping to conclusions which will make us appear arrogant and foolish. It must not be forgotten that our God has within His nature a great store of magnificently beautiful qualities and concepts and our own stores are, as yet, very empty and unbeautifulby by comparison. So in understanding that it is our creative and loving friendship that our Father and Friend is looking for, let us realise that our own creative responses are being brought to life by observing and translating the beautiful things of God. It will only be slowly and with a lot of experience that we ourselves will be able to create anything approaching the handiwork of God. Too much pride and conceit in the results of our own efforts will, of course, become an obvious hindrance in our education, but insufficient effort to make a start of our very own will, equally, be a measure of our lack of love and gladness towards the great gift of our own reality and the Divine Parents who made this gift possible. We must expect that, up to now, the true beauties that have been expressed through our cultures have been largely sent to us from our god through the efforts of the sixth formers who come and live among us to guide and stimulate our awaking to qualities beyond our ken. And yet, we in our turn have enhanced the maturity of these sixth formers by our painful and couragous efforts to live more fully in this very difficult and misleading environment. But we are, all of us, comforted by the touch of the great artist whose works are all around us, even on earth, in the shape of the lovely plants, creatures and lands to dwell in. It is mostly the activity of man, in the cultures of his own making, that the errors of living combine to hurt and destroy us. We have taken a long and careful look even at this and found that there is a supreme value to be perceived in the overcoming of such adversity.
It is most valuable for us to learn to exercise our imaginative capability in order to muse upon the possibilities of purpose beyond any we have, as yet, been able to grasp. For we can notice that in human nature we can withstand almost any difficulties except the loss of a sense of purpose. We can make do without happiness, comfort and love, if we feel that the reason for doing so is some great purpose. This will lead us to expect the same principle to apply to all other beings in any other level or classroom in the university. Consequently, if we can deepen, widen and clarify our sense of purpose, it will have a very far reaching effect.
It seems to me that, as far a our most real nature is concerned, purpose is explainable in a scale of terms which vary from the most elementary to the most mature. We have already covered the groundwork of this argument in our earlier discussions, so that we can say that the first sense of purpose that stems directly from our true Being nature is to belong to a form of life that does not come to an end. In this way we move from the considerations of the second hand and the minute hand, to the hour hand of our time sclae. Lastly, if we take in the concept of Divine Friendship, we move out of the ‘Day of Creation’ all together and into the condition from which our Creator set about creation; thus we move away from the clock face too. The purposes which belong to the second hand are shallower than those of the minute hand, and these in turn are shallower than those that belong to the hour hand. Thus we can say that if we move away even from the hour hand, we will expect to meet a deeper sense of purpose than the hour hand can express. This is summarised by saying that our Creator is not content with the relationship we can have with Him within the time and space of creation, He also wants us to realise this levelling-up, mature friendship situation outside the time and space of creation.
The ‘time scale’ of purpose is only the ‘exterior’ way of measuring it. We now need to look at the ‘interior’ significance of purpose in order to get to grips with its reality. If we look the meaning of purpose straight in the face we will agree that it always has to do with movement, and such movement is towards enhancement or enlargement, and not towards belittlement or diminishment. If purpose moves towards this latter direction we say it is sick or perverted. Movement of the sort we are talking about is not, of course, to do with physical movement, although this may be a part of it. We can see clearly that movement, in terms of purpose, is entirely to do with valuing and achievement, thus it is also inseperable from what we have called character and characteristics. These in turn being directly a measure of the treasures of friendship which we can win for one another and be able to offer one another. So the sense of purpose is of movement towards enhancement and is tus in one direction only. If it goes into reverse we say it is improper or sick. True direction of movement is thus towards a qualitative enlargement and, to be real, it must therefore involve the real, or Being, nature in us in awareness of more, or greater, or higher valuations. Thus the Being nature in us ‘moves’ from a smaller set of values and characteristics towards a larger set. This idea of movement we should call growth, and we will remember that we have already made it one part of the nature of Divine Love, where the spectrum of love has, at one end, the maintenance condition and, at the other end, the growth condition. The true sense of purpose is ‘movement as growth’, which growth is concerned entirely with qualities of awareness or consciousness and are, thus, not related to the space-time continuum of creation, but are related to a quality-time continuum of the Divine Spirit from which creation was manifested.
Here the term quality-time is drawing attention to another sense of time which is a part of the growth situation of the spirit, which, in turn, is an intrinsic part of the sense of purpose of the spirit. If we do not wish to use the term ‘spirit’ in its common usage we must try to think of the essential livingness and consciousness which is ‘The Real’....’That which is’. The word spirit, like so many of our words, has become involved with other meanings than the one which we are trying to define here. No doubt, as more of us move into these deeper areas of understanding, we will evolve a suitable language which will avoid much of the misunderstanding we have at present. To many people the word spirit immediately conjures up the idea of ghosts which, again, conjures up all sorts of superstitions and unconscious fears. But it is hard to find another word to represent the numinous breath of life, vital, dynamic, very awake and purposeful which is the nature of Living God and The Absolute Reality from which He has personified Himself.
If we can accept this term, then we are saying that our individual spirits, who share the spiritual reality of our Creator, and whose uniqueness and character is a measure of the value we all have for one another, also share the reality of the One Divine Absolute, this being what we can think of as our common specieshood to which we can only refer as Reality. How this arose in the first place is a mystery indeed, and all of us have pondered over the problem of how there could ever have been an original birth of ‘anything’ in the first place.
But there is a sort of ‘time’ which exists for our Creator in what we have previously thought of as the ‘timelessness’ of His Nature. This ‘timeless time’ refers to spaceless movement, which is the sense of purpose we are suggesting is the most essential attribute of any spirit. If we use the term ‘growth’ we will get much closer to the point we are trying to make, which is that anything living needs to grow. The more it is truly living, the more it truly needs to grow. Our Creator’s university is endeavouring to give us the truest sort of life, which is the Divine Life, and this must have as it’s primary purpose the sense of growth. But growth, in this case, is not from the body of a child to the body of an adult, it is from an elementary form of awareness to a mature form of awareness. Awareness is of the spirit and does not occupy space, so it does not occupy time which is related to space, but it occupies time which is related to growth.
It is somehow wrong to suggest that our God has no sense of time, for this always implies that He has no sense of purpose either, for He is not able to aspire ‘towards’ anything. We can easily imagine that He has created a sense of time for us to learn in but, if we try to imagine Him ‘living outside time’, then we run into the problem that he can foresee and foreknow everything in such a way that it invalidates our own sense of purpose. For, if God can foresee everything, then everything is already ‘settled’ or ‘fixed’ in some way and He is only playing games with us, pretending that we are real when we are not. Whenever we make any great effort to achieve something valuable, that effort is a part of the timeless knowledge of God and thus pre-ordained. Our sense of reality depends entirely on our efforts being effortful processes in which we use our own ‘creative fulcrum’ to bring something neew into the common pool of Reality. If this process is only part of a mechanical feed-back situation which gives us the feeling of using our initiative but is in fact ‘set-up’ for us in the plan of the Creator, then we can never become valuable Divine Friends for one another or for our God.
What we can imagine, is a situation where our God has the ability to forecast the probabilities within creation to an extent that seems to us to be complete foreknowledge. So that if all things remain equal, He can know what all the possible permutations of the happenings in creation will lead to. But, the key words are ‘all things being equal’, for if we learn to use our creative ability in the truly real sense which makes us a co-creator with our God, then all things are NOT equal, and the ability of our God immediately re-forecasts all our future again to contain this new element. The more creatively we respond to creation and the more we build unique characteristics into our true nature, the more the future of all things is recast. So, ideally, our God would like the future to be a continually changing possibility rather than a fixed one. The more we wake up to ourself and behave with faith and responsibility, the more we can choose to add to it the ‘Personal’ friendship of God. Otherwise, the best we can achieve is a ‘Parental’ friendship which is not the same because it has not become self-supporting and mature. This maturity is, of course, relative like everything else is relative and our first efforts to achieve it will take a lot of space-time experience as well as growth-time experience.
We may now say that in the ‘timeless’ reality outside creation there is another time we can learn to exist in which is growth time, which has a past, present and future, just like space time. Within this growth time we can support a true sense of purpose which can move from something less towards something more and, thus, we have made room again for the idea of purpose and growth which we can take part in and delight in, alongside our God, as friends. And, at last, He will be able to take off the mantle of ‘God’ and become our best and wisest ‘friend’.
To summarise the discussions in this chapter we have:
1. The separation, which may be imminent, of the responders from the non-responders.
2. This will produce a marked improvement in conditions and will enable the responders to grasp the Friendship Teaching.
3. We will only learn to be truly creative through appreciating the handiwork of our God and the standards He has set us.
4. The sense of purpose is our most fundamental need.
5. Purpose can be defined as growth.
6. Growth is essentially qualitative.
7. But qualitative growth has a past, present and future.
8. We may therefore propose that there are two sorts of time.
a. Space-time, connected with movement in space.
b. Growth-time, connected with movement in consciousness.
9. Our Creator can forecast the future completely, unless our initiative enters in and we become co-creators.
10. If we do this with love and responsibility, we come close to understanding the Friendship which is His greatest gift to us, and ours to Him.
In order to simplify the picture of the universes as a university for the education of the children of God, we have described one set of children being born and brought up in the sixth form, or the ‘heavenly’ level of creation, and the other set as being born and brought up in the first form, or ‘unheavenly’ level of creation. The reason for the latter is to provide ‘distance’ between the individuality of the Creator’s Personality and the personalities of the first formers. This is to draw out the maximum potentiality of uniqueness in those first form pupils. The sixth formers however, while providing a teaching staff for the university and being trained as far as they could be in heaven for this task, when meeting up the the pupils of the first form and the difficult conditions of this most resistive level of creation, would also have the value of more uniqueness of individuality drawn out of them. They too would be strengthened and educated by the very endeavour to teach their knowledge of values to the children of God born to unheaven. We may appreciate that this method of increasing the difficulty of the Being nature of His children was the only way to ignite the spiritedness of the Spirit, so that it would wish to know and explore the whole truth in such a way that it could receive the whole gift of it’s own mature Divine Individuality. In so doing it was also fulfilling the most profound motivation of the Creator, which was to have companions and friends rather than children and servants to participate in the growth purpose of life, of Being and of Divine Love.
We have also suggested that the staff, who were needed to ‘descend’ to the most difficult level of the first form, were given and taught to use more and more dense types of bodies in order that they could fully contact the dense atmosphere of the earthly condition. However there are many other ‘jobs’ required of the university staff other than teaching the children of earth. Many of them would be required to help with the processes that build and maintain the many levels of creation as they are formed in series from the most ethereal down to the most dense. We have suggested the layer after layer image of the onion as being a way in which one level was precipitated out from the other, copying, as it were, the pattern of the higher level into the pattern of the lower level, as far as it was possible. So the teaching staff who eventually come to the classroom of earth are those children of heaven who have matured somewhat in their ‘journey’ of experience through layer after layer of creation, thoroughly learning all that they could at each level as they encountered it. In terms of space-time and purpose-time they had already received a great deal of experience before the first form was created and made ready for the men of earth to awaken and begin their lessons. In saying that there is much that the first formers are able to learn from the sixth formers, we are also observing that there will be a complementary learning on the part of the sixth formers. In this way the whole of the spectrum of love and purpose will be eventually encountered and understood, and this will lead to a condition of objective valuing and wisdom which will lead us directly to realise that our God does not want to be God, He only continues in that capacity so long as there is no one else to participate in the role with Him. But as soon as we can become Godlets and His friends, of our own free will, then the designation ‘God’ becomes redundant. He will then be the wisest friend among us, and is any of us can become wiser than Him, in the endlessness of purpose-time, then He will be the first to be glad about it.
It is also clear that our image of the onion is a very limited way of understanding the subtlety of the levels of creation, for these are brought about through a process of vibratory induction upon the substance of the whole Being of the Absolute. It is not the same thing as producing ‘something’ in a space of ‘nothingness’. This creative process seems to condition the matrix of the Absolute, which is called ‘The Face of the Deep’, so that a series of more viscous environments interpenetrate with one another in the same way that electrons, atoms, molecules and life-forms interpenetrate with one antohers environments; only, in the case of creation, it is on a much greater scale. Thus, the various classrooms of God’s university interpenetrate one another, and they are not so much removed from one another in terms of space-time as growth-time (quality-time). The difference between the most thereal leve and the most inertia-filled level is a measure of the depth of understanding which the university is designed to teach us. It is designed on the basis of how much our Creator thinks we can stand, of how much tension of potential difference our nature can support. So the earth is not just to be considered as the first form, as in an ordinary school, because it is also a ‘finishing school’ experience for the post graduates, whether they be first formers or sixth formers. This is because the earthly environment is interpenetrated by the higher classrooms in the most difficult and testing conditions.
In one sense we can think of the sixth form as being the place in which the sixth formers graduate, but then it is their further experience in the firth, fourth, third, second and first forms which teaches them the full significance of ‘what it is that they have graduated in’. If it was not for the fact that their other brothers and sisters were starting in the first form situation, there would be no pull or purpose to cause them to become fully involved in the whole experience of the whole university process. If we imagine our ordinary human schools being staffed by our ordinary human teachers, we notice that they come fresh from university and training college to the form rooms of the primary or secondary school, where it is the experience of mixing their higher theoretical learning with the rough and tumble of the actual teaching situation which turns them into mature teachers. The difference between an inexperienced teacher and a mature teacher is that the latter is ‘worked upon’ or taught by the pupils themselves, though the pupils do no know that they are doing it. In a similar way, the teaching staff in God’s university are worked upon by the pupils who start from the bottom of the school. They produce in this staff a maturity which is invaluable and which can never be taught to them directly in a theoretical way in heaven. The outcome is that both the staff and the pupils find that they are in the same position of being able to add to the understanding of the other. We have proposed that if this understanding becomes mature enough, it achieves an objectivity of observation, reasoning and valuation which enables it to realise that there is no end to the opportunities that the creator is holding out to it. The chief of these is the ‘level to level’ friendship with God, as a fellow and companion; to live, grow, explore and experiment with, to further our combined sense of the potential qualities and beauties of the Divine Spirit. I think we find it difficult to visualise a more purposeful purpose than this and, thus, a more vital realisation to spark off the dynamic ‘willingness to live’ in space-time and non-space-time.
In the more esoteric teachings of the spiritual traditions that have come to earth the head of the teaching staff is designated as The Son of God, who we have come to know as The Christ, the anointed one, whose life in the person of Jesus has been the basis of our Christian teachings and our western moral attitudes. In the account given by St. John of the words He spoke at the last supper we find in chapter 15, verse 15, the following:
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
But in chapter 16, verse 12, we have the simple words:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
And we can imagine that in the religious climate of the people in those times, the distance between a God of power and worshipful superiority, and a God of love and friendly approachability was too great for the disciples to adjust to. In this case we can imagine the sadness of the Divine Man, Jesus, who was at the same time so close and yet so distant, in the loving purpose of His nature; which we may see trying to live out the beginning of the understanding of this great change in our knowledge of who and what we were and the purpose behind the great enigmas of life. It is interesting that in Genesis chapter 3*, the serpent spoke to Eve about the tree planted by God in the midst of the garden of Eden. This was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which Adam and Eve were told not to eat of, for if they did, they would surely die. In verses 4, 5 and 6 we have:
And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, AND A TREE TO BE DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of the fruit thereof, etc....... The price of wisdom is further seperation from God and suffering of all kind.
This is the equation which we have been looking at. The book of Genesis seems to be a collection of fragments of ancient history of mankind, but overlaid with human comment and wrong conjectures. We wonder how the serpent appears on the scene and why God made it the most subtle of any beast of the field, and why God planted the ‘tree of trouble’ in the garden at all. However, I think we are reading a version of some very involved happenings which are not remembered in their proper form. This type of short account, unfortunately, does not add to our understanding of a loving, purposeful and reasonable God. So it is no wonder that Jesus says that there is still much He has to tell us, but we are not in a condition that is able to disgest it yet.
When we think of the way theologians have blamed the woman for all the ills that have befallen man, we only have to look at the words which are the ground the their argument, to realise that there is no finer aspiration then.....
"To desire to be wise......."
She chose the great prize and was willing to pay the price. Surely, if our God had wished here to avoid the situation He would have arranged thng differently. So we should therefore thank and admire the woman for the highest initiative of her spirit, which, if our equations are saying anything, our Creator depended on for the full expression of His gift and His longing. For it seems that we could never become a full friend of our God unless we learned to disobey and taste the consequences. But morally, our God had to play His part, which was to warn us off the tree and guide us away from suffering, even though He was, at the same time, guiding us away from His great longing and aspiration.
I do not believe it was just the woman who disobeyed, but I do believe that mankind reaches a stage in his growth, when all has to be risked in order to achieve majority. This is the stage where our God has to hand over the reins and man has to be confronted with his own short-sighted ‘cleverness’. Only then will he learn the humility which is a proper part of wisdom. Not a humility which is a diminishment of the spirit or the neutralising of initiative, but the humility whcih knows how much it does not know. This is the eye-opening experience which is always a shock and must therefore be approached gradually, for it is counterbalanced by an equally shocking realisation of our capabilities at the same time. If our roots have not been established firmly in the ‘Divine Soil’ or our true nature, the storm and tempest that follows will surely bring us down.
It is this long and patient work of establishing us in the foundation of our Being which has been in progress for millenniums and, until it is accomplished, it will be unsafe for us to open our eyes. But, it may be that the time has now come for us to begin to read ou Creators Heart directly and to feel the delight and the burden of our own Divine responsibility. Such responsibility must never knowingly do that which has already been understood to be wrong but, at the same time, it must be free of the fear to act, which would numb the purpose and creativity of its nature. So the wise will continue to make mistakes; but the difference between a wise man and a fool is that the wise man will make more profitable mistakes and be at greater pains to correct such mistakes.
1. Th sixth formers start their education even before the first form is ready for occupation.
2. Some sixth formers are needed for teaching and others for the building and maintenance of the university itself.
3. The graduates of the sixth form discover what it is they have graduated in by being ‘worked on’ by the first formers
4. The Christ, the eldest of the sixth formers, is the head of the teaching staff. 5. The head teacher calls us Friends.
6. In Genesis, the woman eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in order to become wise.
7. Wisdom is maturity, and, in our education, a stage is reached when the reins have to be given to us and all is put at risk.
8. Wisdom does not mean tht we will never make mistakes, but we will make more fruitful mistakes and take fuller responsibility for them.
We have been looking at the requirements of a scheme of creation from the Creators point of view, bearing in mind that He wishes to bring into existence real, wise, independent friends, rather than children or servants. I think we can echo this in the depth of our own awareness. So, if we ask ourselves what the gift of greatest value would be for use if we could choose anything we liked, the immediate thoughts would centre around happiness, joy, love, harmony and all things to make life easy and put us in a state as close to blissfulness as possible. But, as the echo penetrated to the deeper layers of our Being we would discover that the thing we wish for most is the very thing that we are taking for granted at the shallower levels of our nature. That is, in the first place, the reality of our own Self and, in the second place, the reality of other different Selves to exchange the content of our Being with. In any case, are we sure that we understand what bliss is? If it is a continual state of supreme happiness, it must be happiness about something. Now we cannot understand what that something could be unless it is related to a sense of fulfilled purpose. It does not seem possible for us to be very happy about something which is not a very fundamental aspect of the nature of our spirit. This we have suggested to be a sense of growth towards more valuable values in, what we have called the past present and future of growth-time (as against space-time). But we can understand that, after being deprived of the experience of heaven and the beautiful immediacy of our Creators Person, a holiday in heaven would be blissful, and this feeling could last for a long time. But, eventually, the other side of our nature would become restless and require attention; this is the purposeful growth side, which wants to live and experiment and expand it’s awareness, rather than sit in a deckchair on the sunny sands of heaven.
So when we get to the fundamental level of our deepest wish we will discover that it is to be a ‘real someone’, and to be a ‘valuable’ real someone. Such value cannot exist alone, for part of the meaning of its valuability is in the way it behaves or relate to other valuable Beings. We discover that we have a healthy spiritual need to grow, which is endless, and the other independent and uniquely different ‘persons’ are one of the means of discovering new attitudes and viewpoints which are necessary to that growth. Together with this is a realisation that the gladness and joy which comes from the experience of endeavour with other persons is also one of the most fundamental measures of growth itself. So there is a bliss of contented basking in the Divine ‘maintenance’ state of love, and there is a bliss in engaging in the creative and exploratory experiences of the ‘growth’ state of love. One of the engagements which at present is so vital to the conditions on earth is engagement in rescue work, which is concerned to remind the people of earth that they need to believe in the higher attitudes of their nature which they each carry in the Divine Spark of the true Being; to remind them that these attitudes are very different from the attitudes of the small ego, which has been so conditioned by the negative and diminished values of civilisation.
Let us try to imagine that we have a spiritual holiday away from the conditions, problems and pains of earth, and then let us ask ourselves, again, what is the greatest gift we can be given. In this more balanced position of ‘plateau joy’, we are able to seek the answer to this question with more objectivity and less compensatory need. We can now give full weight to the realisation that our most valuable gift is the one our Creator has already given us, which is to be given a separate spiritual individuality. The gift we desire most continues in the same vein by being growth towards more individuality and more spiritual quality and character. If we now put our greatest wish, which is to be ‘real and valuable’, together with all the equations of Being which we have previously worked out and discussed, we will see that our God has forestalled that wish itself, because he knew the answer before we did. We will also see that He has been giving us all that we most deeply want, even at the expense of pain to Himself and to us, and even at the expense of His motives and person being misunderstood, devalued and even hated. Yet we ourselves, as physical personalities, know that in bringing up children here on earth, the same situation has occurred to us in relation to our children. Many is the time we have to play the role of angry parents who restrict freedom of our children, when we do not feel angry and we know that the temporary discipline is for the sake of a greater freedom later on; which we can foresee and they cannot.
If we can stand back and realise that our life is more than the physical space-time of one seventy year spell in a human body, we can know that there is nothing we can possibly wish for that we are not already being given. For if we take our imaginary stance, for a moment, in that place of holiday rest from all the immediate worries of life, we will realise that we would wish to take on difficult situations again in order to discover and prove ourselves, to explore and grow and witness ourselves in situations where opposition is in the nature of the environment. We will discover that in the spiritedness of our spirit is ‘the warrior’ who needs a battlefield for the fighting of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual battles. It is only when we have been on the battlefield too long, and been sickened by it, that we would give anything for a rest. After the rest, a battlefield of sorts is not simply a desire, it is a positive need. But we are not talking about the crude forms of battle that we know in our history of wars; for whilst they are difficult enough, the battles of Peace are far more difficult, because the enemy is often not even visible to us, for it is a form of psychological sickness or sleep.
What I am referring to as psychological sickness can also be understood as immaturity of the spirit of the pupils of the first form, and sometimes the aberrations of sixth formers who are overcome by the difficulty of the physical nature of experience. These forms of sickness and aberrations which they produce have been dealt with in my other book ‘A Geography of Consciousness’, and they can be seen there to be the result of the build up of patterns of response and behaviour which are thrust into the various levels of our nature without being understood by our true Self. Consequently, they continue to be active without the knowledge of the Self that we truly are. Thus a ‘false person’ is often formed, who is made up largely of these arbitrary enforced responses, which are mechanical and not considered. This false person is so much more at home in the world than the real person, that it forces the real Self, that we truly are, off the stage of life altogether. But even if the physical personality is healthy and relatively free from mechanical circuits of reactive behaviour, it is still very difficult for us to realise the Self to be more than the physical reality of the personality. In fact, as we have already said, there are many experts trying to define our reality purely in terms that can be measured and understood by scientific instruments and processes.
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. However, as in our earthly schools, the personality of the headmaster pervades the way the school functions, and the better he is, the more the worth of his personality permeates the classrooms. Often the pupils will not meet or know the headmaster at all, but they will have been affected by his spirit nevertheless. This is not a perfect analogy to our God, for His teaching methods are too subtle for us to understand as yet; in any case, He is concerned with us as a Creator and Friend in a way that the headmaster is not. 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.
My friends and I often play a game at my home which we call ‘The Painting Game’. The purpose of this game is to actualise the spontaneous creativity of the relatively unknown Self that we truly are. A very important part of this game is to be able to enter into the higher attitudes of the higher Self, where we are free of possessiveness, hostility, envy, anger, superiority, inferiority, fear and anxiety. This sounds like a big step to take, and for some people it is too much for them; but the game itself is a great help towards overcoming the ordinary human negative responses. What we do, is to take a piece of hardboard and a set of ordinary household emulsion paints in tins, ordinary household paint brushes, paint scrapers, rags and cold water for mixing and cleaning. We then take it in turns between two of us, to ‘make marks’ on the same board with the colour we choose. We say ‘marks’ because we do not set out to be clever or to paint pictures. We actually set our upon a voyage of discovery in which we have to try and give ourselves up to the spirit of higher ‘gladness’ about one anothers unknown unique potentiality, which we delight in helping to actualise as part of the journey of discovery.
To begin with, the marks we make are often tentative and vague in order to give an opportunity for some unknown hunch from our unknown self to enter the game. As the spirit of the game grows with each turn of play, so the intuitive sense of fitness of the next move becomes an integral part of our consciousness. In this way we are encouraging our ordinary consciousness to combine willingly with the ‘extraordinary’ consciousness of the higher, bigger, spiritual consciousness of our real Self.
Because we discuss the purpose of the game beforehand, we enter into the spirit of it in such a way that we give encouragement and ‘faith’ to one another; which, in the climate of today, is very necessary, for our faith in our ability to respond creatively to anything which confronts us has been almost eroded. Now the purpose of the game is to play it with this spirit of mutual enhancement, acceptance and encouragement, which begins the process if re-education of the external personality ego in such a way that it can combine consciously, with the real, spiritual ego. Because the higher attitudes of friendly co-operation are natural to the Self, the game becomes a witnessing of every step on the road to this higher attitude. Each player can also realise where and when a difficulty arises, and they can help one another through the difficulty so long as the spirit is willing and friendly.
What the game is trying to portray, as it becomes more fully understood and exercised by both players, is a miniature version of the whole purpose of creation which we have been talking about in our discussion. For the two players are living out, on a small scale, the exact replica of the friend to friend relationship of gladness, discovery, growth and creativity which we have said that the Creator wishes to meet us in. The theory that we have been discussing can then be felt and experienced, so that we can decide for ourselves if it is satisfactory or not; if it explains and fulfills the nature of our true Self or not.
We must not be impatient with the game and expect to be able to play it properly the first time we try. The first few attempts to play will, almost certainly, throw up areas of hostility, anxiety and non-acceptance of the other persons rights. But, with practice and talking the situation out, acceptance grows quite quickly and we will be feeling that we have created a space for one another, which is so rare, where we can trust and feel glad without needing to be on the defensive or proving ourself to be ‘as good as’ or ‘better than’ the other person. The quality of the game is always reactive, and there is no limit to the delicacy of understanding with which it can be played, or the period of time taken between each turn. One can play a ‘long distance’ game, for instance, in which the board may be bigger and an interval of days or weeks taken between each turn. Other mediums can be tried, as there are no rules to abide by; and one discovers that what one takes out of the painting, to simplify it, can be as creative as what one adds to it.
The point of the game is, of course, that each player continually confronts the other with ‘problems’ which they would be unable to confront themselves with. It is because of the continual demand to respond to new problems that the creativity is exercised in us, and in witnessing it on the board in front of us, we acquire an increase in faith in all that we have been talking about. Conversely, one must enter the game with a real intention of giving it a chance, or else the lack of success will be used by the negative side of our nature to pour scorn and doubt on the value of the game and the value of the philosophy behind the game.
The reason that painting seems to be the best form of this experience is that, unlike music or dancing, it is not tied so directly into time. The paint brush can pause over the game and then act upon the game just as though we were able to step into time and step out of it again. This encourages us to recognise the distinction in ourselves between space-time experience and growth-time experience. We can learn consciously to ‘stand back in ourselves’ and sense the purely qualitative awareness of our true Self as it exists in growth-time (which feels like ‘timeless’ time) and then we can feel the decision coming over us to enter into the space-time of the game to make our next move. At any moment during the painting of what move we can, as it were, stop the time of the game in space and return to our relatively timeless condition in growth-time (which is the time of the spirit). On certain occasions on can feel a growth sequence taking place in the awareness of the true Self, as a realisation drops into place.
This experience and understanding of time in terms of our ‘physical ego’ and again in terms of our ‘spiritual ego’, will also make us realise that when we leave this physical condition behind at our physical death, we may well be in a state of consciousness which is very much conditioned by what we have come to believe and what we have come to have faith in. We can realise, while we are Self-aware in a condition of ‘pause’ while playing the painting game, that our imagination is quite free; and that we have never allowed ourselves to use it or feel that it is valuable. It is quite difficult at first to play the painting game simply because the worldly ego will not easily allow us to do something which does not have an end result which it considers to be valuable. Most of the free imaginative response that comes from the Higher Ego that we truly are, is inhibited by the conditioning of the lower ego in terms of survival, money making and self-importance. When we leave the physical body at death this imagination conditions where and what we experience. If the imagination is restricted to the views of a worldly personality, we shall only experience what come close to those ideas of worldly values. But if our imagination has become free and has developed a sensibility towards ideal qualities, whether these be ‘religious’ or not, they will allow us into realms of experience of a more spiritual nature.
If, for instance, part of the tuition in class three or four is to learn to use and delight in our creative abilities, we may be shown, in those much more responsive realms, how we can play a sort of painting game; but in this case with more subtle means. We may find that the creative game here would be the invention of whole environments and atmospheres, which would include sound, colour, movement, forms and even people. Not real people, but fictitious characters that we might find in a book. In such ways we would be able to learn a tremendous amount about ourselves and one another by giving full expression to subliminal longings, loves and values.
If our way was a more religious way, we may find ourselves meeting up with the God that we have consciously or unconsciously learned to believe in. In meeting this projection we may well discover that our ‘God’ image, that we were carrying about with us, was not nearly good enough; for, when we saw the projection face to face, we would quickly feel if the qualities which our innermost sensibilities required were present in this god or not. From this experience we may well re-assess our conscious attitudes and understanding, and create another picture in our mind which is far nearer to the truth of our Creator’s person. We will also realise, in playing such games, how much the content of the various levels of consciousness and classrooms will inter-relate; and how, when we reach a certain level of growth, the whole university begins to come together quite naturally in ways that we had been prepared for without knowing it. For such is the wisdom of our Head Teacher, and the system which our God has designed for Him to teach in, that our innermost hearts are read by Him long before we have come to be conscious of their inner desires. Because of this the ground is often prepared for us long in advance of what we come to know we need. Not that this is taking the initiative away from us, or over-ruling our will, it is simply the way in which our wiser friends can tell that we are beginning to love before the significance of it dawns upon us.
1. The gift we greatly desire is our own Self.
2. This is not the physical personality ego, but the spiritual ego, the Divine Individuality, the Godlet.
3. This Self needs to enjoy the beautiful qualities that emanate from the Personality of God, and also the creative and exploratory activities of its own nature.
4. We thus find that we are at present being given exactly what we want.
5. ‘The Painting Game’ is a microcosmic experience of Divine creative friendship.
6. The game strengthens our faith in the ‘unknown Self’ that we truly are, and in the ability it has to respond to any situation.
7. The game allows us to sense our ability to step in and out of space-time, and to feel what growth-time is like.
8. The game, as it may become in higher classrooms, would be an extension of the painting game into a multi-media situation, where our experimental constructions were far more mobile.
The ideas that we have been looking at may well seem to us to show that we are trying to run before we can walk. Yet, what we have to consider is that even if we are walking , it is important that we learn to walk in something like the right direction. None of us wish to adopt an arrogant attitude towards life, nevertheless, we do wish to have a reverence for life which does not seem to be incomplete. This completion can only come about if we also possess a vision of purposefulness around which the reverence can properly orient itself. Whereas we may feel that we are, most of the time, groping our way through life on earth in a fog; yet there is still a place in our inner nature which can become clear and certain about all that is good, and all that stems from what it recognises to be the nature of love itself; both in its integrating form and its exploratory form. Therefore, even if the ideal Divine Friendship is a long way off in terms of our education in the space-time university, this time is at the service of growth-time, which is the everlasting time of the Spirit in us. So that whatever we think of as a long time or a short time, is almost meaningless in terms of real time, which is the past, present and future of our Spiritual growth. Space-time is the stage upon which we act out this growth-time, in the same way that we act out the business of painting together in the painting game. The preparation that goes into the understanding of what we are trying to do in the painting game, is, in relation to the physical act of putting down paint, what our growth-time living is to our space-time living. It is to do with the quality of understanding, of consciousness itself; it is not bound by anything except the love and responsibility that cares about the wellbeing of all life.
It is, therefore, better that we begin to strive towards the ideal of becoming companionable to our Creator, which is the only possible desire of a God who is truly perfect in love, than that we strive to please Him in some less mature way, which is easier for us to achieve and understand, but which may still become a barrier to our response to His real nature. In the end, we are going to do nothing but disappoint and hurt Him if we do not search into the sweetest and most beautiful depths of His nature. We may even find that, rather than being a difficult and very long term thing to achieve, this change in attitude is both simple and natural to us, and with the help of our brothers and sisters, can be reinforced and made strong in us quite quickly; within a life time, or even a few years.
This attitude is, itself, the kingdom of heaven. The king will remain the king, even though as we said previously, He would be the first to be glad if one of His Friends became wiser than Himself. In this respect we must always bear in mind that our Creators position is one of supreme responsibility and not one He takes up in order to be in any way superior to us. So let us try and free ourselves from all those human aberrations that we carry around with us in the world, and let us then try to visualise the nature of a Being who is very friendly, approachable and yet deeply wise; who never stops growing and learning, even so; and let us try to be like Him. When we worship Him, let us ask ourselves if He really wants to be worshipped, or whether He really wants to be loved and befriended. Does God Himself worship anything, and if so, what is it? If we discover that God ‘gives worth’ or worship to the same qualities that we do, we may discover that we are not so far from being His companions as we thought.
It would be reasonable to suppose that if our Creator is trying to give us all the most valuable things that He possesses in His spirit, then these are qualities which He feels to be most worthwhile. If they are worthwhile to Him, then our God is, in a sense, worshipping these qualities Himself. he is adoring them as we are. We can then understand that we may reach towards an attitude that is giving worth and adoration to the beautiful and valuable things of the Divine Nature in the same way that our God is. In such a case, the adoration of the Divine qualities is one thing, and the love of the Person of God is another. But since our God expresses so many of these qualities in His ‘Personality’, we have tended to confuse the situation. We can adore the relatively abstract quality of many forms of beauty, but we can not make friends with them. We can adore many forms of Divine Ability, but not be able to make friends with them. But we can make friends with the Person of God who is trying to channel as much of the Divine Absolute Nature as He can, through, what is to Him, the focus of His Personality. If he had not taken upon Himself this limitation of Personality, there would be no personal form of the expression of love in creation. And we have seen that it is precisely at the personal end of the love spectrum that our God is harvesting His friends, and these are the chief reasons for His whole creative endeavour.
We should feel the possibility that our love and friendship matters to our God; for if He is the very wise person who we consider Him to be, then we must look carefully at the nature of such wisdom. As we have said before, a wise person does continue to make mistakes; he profits by and uses the process of trial and error, but his wisdom makes his trials and errors more fruitful. A wise person is more aware than a fool is of just how much he does not know. A wise person has learned to ‘wake up’ in his awareness to a degree that would make all of us look almost asleep. A wise person knows his true sense of purpose and valuing. He knows it is concerned with growth in terms of the quality and ability of awareness; therefore a wise person is not only able to learn all the time, but is very keen to do so. If we had a very wise person sitting with us, in conversation in our living room in our house on earth, this person would be learning more from us than we were learning from him; although he had more wisdom to give us, as it were. The reason seems to be that wisdom grows at an accelerating rate; the more it has, the more it can get.
When we think about our God in the future, we should consider that, if He is keenly involved with us in our attempts to grow, then this does not feel to Him in any way a diminishment. Our god cannot condescend to us, because there is nothing in Him which is able to condescend, for everything to Him is enthralling, educative and beautiful. If we could witness this meeting of God with ourselves, we may well consider that our God was very humble; but this attitude, which appears to us as condescending and humble, is a natural result of His possessing a high degree of wisdom. It is a hard thought to bear, but we would get bored with our God long before He could ever become bored with us. We have to remember that we are behaving mechanically most of the time, and that most of the time our true awareness is not functioning through our personality at all. This is what our religions should teach us; knowing how to please our God by being more alive, and remembering not to bore Him by treating Him as though He is an unresponsive idiot. In fact, if we could remember to put ourselves in His place, just once in a while, we would very quickly stop doing many of the things that we consider are proper forms of humility and reverence. Let us remember that we feel a few moments of true love from someone to be worth any amount of valuing for any other reason whatsoever.
And again, let it be made very clear that this philosophy could very easily be misinterpreted in such a way that it is made to sound as though we are advocating the experience of evil as a means of acquiring wisdom. Nowhere does this philosophy advocate such a thing. What it does show is a possible way of correcting the result of error which has been caused by inexperienced. Such errors committed, as it were, from ignorance can be turned to good account if they are seen to be a means of knowing the distaste that they cause us; they are then seen to be an integral part of the learning process. But error which is deliberately perpetuated, or knowingly entered into, is not only harming ourselves, but also other people who are involved. For this there must be a penalty, which is placed upon us by our own spirit, and is a part of the responsibility of being an independent spirit who has the use of free will.