Friday 9 November 2018

Arkle and Romantic Christianity

To define Romanticism with precision has proved impossible - because it is a movement, a phase in human consciousness; but those who feel it will recognise it when we see it.  

To be included in this list, one must be both Romantic and Christian (and be someone whose work I personally respond-to):

William Blake
William Wordsworth
ST Coleridge

Then came several generations during which the Romantics were not Christian, and the Christians were not Romantic. Exceptions include George Macdonald and GK Chesterton, who link between the early Romantic Christians and the Inklings. Both of these I somewhat like, especially GKC - but I am unable to engage whole-heartedly.

Charles Williams
JRR Tolkien
CS Lewis
Owen Barfield

William Arkle

Current representatives of whom I am aware include Jeremy Naydler, Terry Boardman, and the Albion Awakening bloggers: William Wildblood, John Fitzgerald and myself.


The influence of Rudolf Steiner is evident; since although Anthroposophists are extremely rare in England - Barfield, Naydler and Boardman are all of that ilk. This is evidence that Romanticism fits most comfortably with heterodox Christianity - despite that Tolkien (Roman Catholic) and Lewis (Church of England) were orthodox in their practice. Indeed; Blake, Barfield (for much of his life), Arkle and most of the currently alive people - are (I believe) essentially unaffiliated Christians; whose religious and spiritual practice is mostly and in-principle individual rather than communal.

The Steiner link is also important because Germany was the other great origin of Romanticism - with Herder, Goethe, Schiller etc; however until Steiner's 'conversion' in about 1898; the German Romantic literary tradition was not really Christian. An exception is Novalis - the father of Romantic Christianity in Germany.

There are not many on this list; because I don't know of many Romantic Christians. It is a job still to be done, by each individual - since Romantic Christianity must be experiential (knowing 'about' it does not suffice).

However, I regard both Barfield and Arkle as having essentially done the necessary work and, uniquely, achieved Romantic Christianity: both in their theory and in their living.

Mainstream Christianity still tends to regard Traditionalism as a 'safe' path to salvation; and theosis as too 'risky' - and Romanticism is about theosis.

But for the Romantic Christian there is no 'safe' path in the modern world; and traditionalism has in fact become impossible (judged at the deepest level of motivation); as well as sub-optimally desirable. We feel that, in modern conditions, salvation requires theosis; so a purely salvation orientation can only be a kind of 'rescue' procedure.

Because ultimately Romanticism is not a 'reaction' against the Industrial Revolution, modernity and bureaucracy; rather, Romanticism is a positive path of divine destiny, concerned with human evolutionary-development of consciousness.

The aim of Romantic Christianity is (implicitly) to attain the divine form of cosnciousness (what Barfield termed Final Participation) as the primary goal of mortal life at this era of history. In different words: the aim is to restore the unity of Life - including the healing of the split between mind and matter, subjective and objective... to cure the malaise of alienation.

Romantic Christianity is both theoretical (metaphysical) and practical (experiential) - ideas and living both need to change; because otherwise the two aspects will be at contradictory, at war - and therefore unattainable in life.

The Romantic Christian demands that life be Christian - as its root and frame; and also demands that life (including Christianity) be Romantic - therefore it cannot accept the ultimate of primary necessity of System, organisation, institution, bureaucracy... these are all to be regarded as evils; even if, sometimes (in mortal life); expedient or even temoprarily-necessary evils - evils that challenge us to love, faith and hope; and to grow.

Love and creativity are the goal; with creativity as located in thinking, and thinking regarded as universal and primary. 

Wednesday 25 July 2018

William Arkle understood better than anybody the first and most important metaphysical assumption

Which is that this reality was created by a God whom we can know as our loving parent.

With this understanding in place, and confirmed by our direct intuition; we can then infer many things about the purpose of creation: why God created us, what he wants from us, and more.

Arkle understood this better than anybody I have come across. And he was able to express this understanding very simply and beautifully - for example in his Letter from a Father.

Other philosophers begin from other places, and sooner or later there is always a gaping hole at the centre of their philosophy - and God has to be introduced to hold-things-together, but at this late stage God looks unconvincing; like a place-filler.

But if we can begin by knowing God, as a person; and by experiencing God's love for us each and all; then everything necessary to theism falls-into-place.

(But not the role of Christ... that cannot, or cannot easily, be inferred from the assuimption of a loving Father God - the need for Jesus stems from the nature of pre-existent reality, the constraints upon the Father.)

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Pictures in times of trouble

In times of trouble, grappling with words is often beyond me - but pictures, and particularly the memory of pictures, is sometimes of help; sometimes sufficient to stop the descent and even reframe things in a positive way. I presume that this has always been the case for Christians (except those misguided iconoclasts who have always plagued the religion).

What 'works' seems to be a very personal matter - and certainly is is not correlative with artistic excellence as defined by secular aesthetic criteria (effective religious art often seem kitsch or sentimental or naive or over-obvious by such evaluations)... the point is what gets through to you in times of trouble. Perhaps this is why such art often is very direct.

Furthermore, evaluation of art is always influenced by non-visual, contextual factors - for example a portrait or landscape is affected by the beaty, or ugliness, of its subject matter; and religoous and spiritual art by that context - and how we feel about the particular painter and his intent, the time and place of its production, or the artistic tradition from which it arises.

(The inevitability of non-visual factors is, paradoxically, emphasised by the fact that 20th century attempts at abstraction led to the most literary and theorised art of all time! The result has been an art of near-zero self-explanatory power; where gallery visitors read the labels more than they look at the pictures or sculpures/ 'installations'; where modern art critics are more concerned about politics than aesthetics - and their catalogues are filled with words more than with illustrations.) 

For the past several years I have, again and again - most recently yesterday - found some of William Arkle's pictures valuable for this purpose or function. I offer a few of my proven-favourites, with explanations - on the understanding that this is a personal choice: the point being to inspire you to find some (presumably-different) pictures which might serve you as well as these ones have served me. 

This picture represents Jesus as Lord of this world, The Cosmic Christ; offering his gift to us in the form of a flower.

This next one is a simple but haunting picture of an archetypal businessman, about his business, but with an angelic being sustaining him - and again offering a gift of a larger, greater, truer perspective - to which he can turn and which he can accept at any moment he chooses.

This picture is one of many that Arkle did with a large face of divinity hovering above the mundane world - always present, but nearly-always ignored. The small human figure in the bottom-right is absorbed in reading a newspaper, oblivious of the fullness of what is possible.
Another figure hovering above the mundane world - this time a smoky industrial city; and this time the another favourite Arkle symbol/ reality of cupped hands and enfolding arms: this is a very real experience of many Christians with respect to God.

A similar theme, but this time God above an idyllic 'holiday' scene - almost paradisal.In such a situation we are more likely to be aware of the divine presence - but this may be unconscious, and rationally-denied; whereas it ought to be known, and accepted with joy and gratitude.

Here we see a pilgrim, alone, on the threshold and confronting a glorious landscape - which he needed to approach through a dark and sinister foreground.

The following picture of tea things (and several others like it) really stuck in my mind, as showing the divine immanence - God within the everyday objects of our lives - and that nothing real is dead, but is indeed alive, meaningful and part of purpose (even the supposedly inanimate).

And the same applies with landscape - although perhaps we are more inclined to recognise this. This shows a Tolkienian theme of the special quality of distant mountains, and how in heaven we can visit the distant mountains without them losing this 'distant' quality - so that our poignant yearning for their mystery (Sehnsucht) becomes a part of actual, current, conscious experience.

And then Heaven itself - with the heavenly city is the distance; and in this case travelling there really-will be as good as arriving.

For more of Arkle's pictures; visit the recently made webpage, or the (larger) Facebook compendium.

Note: In 1977 William Arkle published The Great Gift - a book of pictures and explanations (and some other writings) which serves exactly this purpose I am talking about; and can still be obtained cheaply secondhand. However, the colour and sharpness of the pictorial reproductions in The Great Gift is far inferior to that of the recently scanned web versions.

Sunday 24 June 2018

A rare, 'successful' life

One of the many reasons that I have an intense interest in William Arkle, is that he is just about the only modern person that I am sure had a successful life - in the most profound sense of 'successful'. I mean, he lived as he was supposed-to live: substantially lived his personal destiny.

In other words, Arkle was both a Christian, and he was at the same time (to a very significant degree) spiritual in his consciousness. This is that state I would most like to achieve - however, I can only do so briefly and intermittently; whereas William Arkle seems to have been living 'in this state' for much of the time.

From talking with his son (Nick), it seems that this was not always the situation. On the one hand, Arkle was naturally a spiritual man; but on the other he got into a bad situation in his twenties, after a first marriage rapidly broke down; and he was left in some kind of lonely, despairing, dishevelled and dysfunctional situation - in which was found, and from which he was rescued, by Elizabeth; with whom he then had a life-long marriage and two children.

From about that point, Arkle seemed to have lived as a Direct Christian - that is, a Christian whose faith was primarily based on direct empathic contact with the divine; but not a solitary mystic - instead because he lived in the context of an active, engaged family and social life; a 'world' that he and his wife built-around themselves and their children.

By my scale of evaluation, therefore, William Arkle's actually-experienced life was 'a success' in a way that I have failed to discover for anyone else.

In a material way Arkle was fortunate to have a loving family life in a beautiful setting, and to work mainly on creative projects - especially painting. But the main thing was that he lived, mostly, in a state of awareness of God's creation; and that 'God' was loving divine-creator parents whose greatest hope to raise their children to fully-divine parity with themselves.

It is the fact of living this vision as experience that made the difference, I think; it was this experiential aspect that sets Arkle apart from other people who knew-about how best to live, what to aim-at; but could not themselves actually do it.

For example, Owen Barfield - who found it very difficult to live what he knew: he found it hard to go far towards putting metaphysical theory into actual practice.

As Barfield said, habit is our default, what we lapse-into; and Arkle seems to have established as habit what others (like Barfield, or myself for that matter) attain only in brief moments. In this, he was helped by a mystical temperament and suitable circumstances - but these are not enough. Arkle also developed a theoretical understanding, worked at creative expression, practiced various forms of meditation (including the process of painting), and created around-himself a conducive situation.

Also, Arkle did not make the common, and easy, mistake of conflating here-and-now happiness with spirituality: he was not a hedonist. His vision of Life is one of God teaching us by providing a world in which each person gets the full range of experiences they need in order to learn - suffering as well as pleasure, tough as well as euphoric, hatred as well as love. Life is not meant to be a utopia.

It seems to have been this process of experiencing and learning that Arkle enjoyed, and which he lived in-awareness-of.

On the one hand, the example of William Arkle shows that 'it can be done'; on the other hand, Arkle's uniqueness shows how rare and difficult it is to attain an overall-successful life of spiritual Christianity.

And we cannot use Arkle as a 'model' for living; indeed, according to Arkle's own teaching, we should not even try to do so.

For Arkle, it was of-the-essence that God wants each peron to 'quarry-out' his unique life in his unique way - because the glory of Heaven is that each person is ever more fully themselves. Heaven is not convergence on a single pattern; but a multiplicity of mature divine persons, each contributing something only they could contribute to creation.

Heaven is, in other words, like an idea extrapolation of family experience; in which each child grows to occupy an unique role, which they themselves co-create as they develop.

And all this dynamic diversity of everlasting creativity is bound-together by love.

That is life as it can be, should be, and actually exists; and William Arkle seems to have experienced life, much of the time, in awareness of that wonderful fact.

Thursday 14 June 2018

William Arkle website

William Arkle's son, Nick, has just launched a very well-produced website of his father's work.

Thursday 17 May 2018

William Arkle's Wikipedia page

There is now a Wikipedia page for William Arkle, which I drafted and submitted (with approval from Nick Arkle, WA's son) - the process took two months! Here 'tis:

It currently reads:

William Arkle (1924 – 2000) was an English painter, esoteric philosopher and composer. He was described by Colin Wilson as "among the half dozen most remarkable men I have ever met..."[1]

William Arkle was born and educated in Bristol. During World War II he served as an engineering officer in the Royal Navy. After the war he trained as a painter at the Royal West of England Academy. Arkle's recognition as an artist culminated in his work being the major exhibit at the first Mind Body Spirit Festival in 1977. In the same year Arkle was the subject of a BBC television documentary in the series Life Story [2]. His first book "A Geography of Consciousness" (1974) was focused on spiritual and philosophical themes [3]. A second book was published in 1977, "The Great Gift", which concentrated on his paintings and poetry [4]. Arkle composed music which was a precursor of the later ambient style. He collaborated with Robert John Godfrey and The Enid in providing artwork for their 1976 album In the Region of the Summer Stars. Godfrey later orchestrated three of Arkle's compositions for a 1986 album "The Music of William Arkle": this was re-released on CD in 2017.

[1] William Arkle (1974). A Geography of Consciousness. London: Neville Spearman.
[2] "Genome: Radio Times 1923-2009". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
[3] William Arkle (1974). A Geography of Consciousness. London: Neville Spearman.
[4] William Arkle (1977). The Great Gift : the paintings of William Arkle. London: Neville Spearman.

Sunday 6 May 2018

The Hologram and Mind by William Arkle (published approx 1990) - The first part of the text

(Unfortunately, the whole e-text of this booklet by William Arkle is not currently available - and the diagram's are not reproduced here either; for what it's worth, here is what I have so far.)

In recent years, our scientists have discovered special sources of light in which there is only one wave length and in which all waves are aligned together to form a very harmonious condition called coherent light. Most of us are already familiar with this light under the name laser light, and we have come to know that it is a form of concentrated light that does not diffuse in the way that ordinary light does and, because of this, such a beam of light is able to travel long distances without loss of power and without losing its sharpness of definition. But this aspect of coherent light is not the one which is of primary interest in this discussion, although it is a necessary part of it.

The object of this essay is rather to draw attention to another phenomenon which has come out of the use of coherent light, or laser beam, and this is the principle of the holographic image or hologram. The reason for being interested in this process is that it defines principles of the behaviour of light waves which may be a valuable pointer to the way our mind nature functions, and the way that such minds interact with one another. When a beam of coherent light is divided into two parts which, later on, meet and interact together to form what is called an interference pattern, or the hologram, it becomes the source of several fruitful analogies which offer new models of the function of the mind. So we will only be using the physical hologram as a starting point to suggest the manner in which thought waves, rather than light waves, may work together both in our individual and universal natures.

To begin with we will look closely at the way in which this physical hologram is formed so that the mechanics of the process become clear enough for us to use in our further analogies. On the left side of the diagram we see the source of coherent light is a laser beam.

DIAGRAM 1 This beam passes to a half mirror where it is divided into two parts; one part continues on its way unaltered and is focused onto a photographic plate, while the other part is diverted by mirrors and is focused onto an object, after which, it is then allowed to pass on to meet its other original half-beam on the same photographic plate.

This meeting causes the two beams to interfere with each other as they are photographed on the film. The reason why they interfere rather than harmonise with each other is that, although they started as two exactly similar parts of the same beam of laser light, the fact that one of the halves of this beam has encountered an object on its way to the photographic plate has caused a distortion in this beam which is not present in the other beam. The nature of the distortion caused by the object is thus registered as the nature of the distortions caused when the two beams come together again. Such a meeting of waves which are slightly out of step with each other causes another set of waves to be set up which emanate from each point of discord or interference. All these very subtle interference wavelets thus form a pattern which registers the ‘grating effect’ that the one beam has on the other.

What happens now, is that, instead of a photograph of the object being produced on the plate, which we would expect in an ordinary photograph, we get a photograph of all the tiny squeaks and bangs caused by the first half of the beam having a difference of opinion with the second half of the beam. The pattern caused by this argument, called an interference pattern, turns out to be nothing like the pattern of the argument itself. This photograph is known as the hologram and appears to be a series of meaningless abstract shapes. It is therefore not a photograph for us to use if we wish to record the object in question but, strangely, it is more of an internal memorandum for the use of the light waves themselves in a language that we cannot understand. Yet there is a way in which this memorandum can be deciphered again.

If we wish to find out what the object was that the beams of light are having their argument about, it is found that we must use the same original source of coherent light that caused the hologram to be formed.

DIAGRAM 2 If we direct this specific light through the interference pattern on the photographic plate the language of the object of the light beams is again converted into the visual language of the object so that its image is reproduced again in a form that is recognisable. There are fringe benefits in this reproduction which are beyond what we expect from an ordinary photograph. It seems that there is such a concentration of information about the object in this holographic method of photography that a spread of detail is reproduced when we apply the coherent light, which causes the image to take on a more three-dimensional quality than normal. The spread of the information about the object being more informative than that of an ordinary camera, seems to tell us more about the solidity of the shapes.

However, it is not this three-dimensional ability either, that holds the most useful analogies for our purposes, but rather it is the way in which the two beams from the same source work together. The first part of the beam which remains unchanged as it meets the photographic plate is known as the 'reference beam', while the second half of the beam which is led to encounter the object is called the 'working beam' or the 'object beam'. The result of their encounter, which is the hologram itself, has another property which further draws attention to the special form of language in which the hologram is recorded. It is found that if the photograph of the interference pattern is made on a glass plate and the plate is broken into many pieces, each piece will respond to the original coherent light by producing the whole image of the object and not just part of the image as we might expect.

DIAGRAM 3 Obviously, the bigger the piece of the hologram in use, the clearer the image will be, but, even so, the fact that every piece of the hologram in some way repeats the information of every part of the hologram is pointing clearly to a principle which is of very great interest.

That the word hologram is used to describe this type of interference pattern indicates that there is a special process at work which gives a holistic effect. The term holistic is applied to events in which every part of the situation is considered to be in resonant response to every other part. It is as if every indivisible part of the whole were telling every other part about its experience, and, at the same time, each of these parts were listening for, and recording, what the other parts had to say.

A very simple analogy is when we say that every drop of the ocean contains the same elements as every other drop, and also contains the same elements as the ocean itself. But the more useful realisation is that the individuals on the photographic plate, which are the grains of the emulsion, are interlinked in a reciprocal way so that all the information of the group is shared, and yet, in which the value of the individual grain is important to the whole. But even this last analogy is misleading, for the essential holographic effect is happening in the light waves themselves before they are recorded on the grains of the photographic emulsion. The clarity of the holistic effect is then limited by the efficiency of the nature of light and the quality of the grain of the photograph.

In the case of water, we notice that if we drop two pebbles into a smooth surface, the ripples spread out and run over one another, creating nodes of interference as they go. But water is such a crude form of wave compared with light that the effect of the secondary waves spreading out from the nodes cannot be detected. When we come to light, the delicacy of response is very much improved, and so this secondary network from the nodes can be recorded. Even so, we know that this process is limited by the fact that the smaller pieces of the broken holographic plate do not give such a clear picture of the whole object.

But we can see that we have started to move in a definite direction of greater efficiency, so that the principle which is called holistic, whereby every part of a body of events is aware of, and sympathetic to, every other part, is gaining in effectiveness as the medium in which it occurs become finer and more completely efficient in response. We must therefore allow ourselves to conjecture that the nature of the waves created by thought in our mental nature is as far beyond light as light is beyond water, in delicacy and efficiency of response, so that the highest level of mind will carry a significance that is so efficient that it is also, by that very efficiency, unable to contain itself locally, and is thus bound to become universal in effect. Universal mind, having no resistance in terms of inefficiency, thus pervades everywhere with vision, understanding and awareness in a way that we humans limit to our immediate contact with one another by such terms as personal space.

Our understanding of the term interference pattern has now gone full circle. It started with the physical and least effective waves formed and meeting one another in water and then went on to light, where much better results were observed, and then went on to mind nature of a relatively higher order of responsiveness again. Whereas we can measure the effect of the first two scientifically, the last is beyond our present ability to observe in this way, and yet, our reason enables us to carry our understanding into this area. But, as the holism of the higher orders of our nature is approached, so the word interference begins to feel less suited to this pattern of interdependence, for what started out as a crude superimposition of one individual wave upon the privacy of another, has gradually turned into a symphony of awareness at the highest level, where the individuality of one wave is longing to engage with, and respond to, the individuality of another.

This last point is drawn out in this fashion in order to lead the argument, for those who are with it in spirit, to a more poetic plane of thought where we can immediately see the correspondence between these levels of holographic effect and the generalised understanding of the spiritual evolution of our human nature, through which we seem to begin with a feeling of irritation over the fact that other people are different from ourselves, and end with the feeling of thankfulness and gladness that they are so.

The next correspondence to be noticed in the nature of the hologram is one that we can take from the way in which the information contained in the holographic pattern is in a meaningless form of abstract lines and rhythmic intervals. All sorts of light may be applied to this photographic image, but none of them will have the effect of producing for us the picture of the object which has been recorded. There is only one key which will unlock the meaning of the message in this secret elemental language, and that is the exact form of coherent light which transcribed it in the first place. In human terms, it is saying that the light brought to bear on the situation is equivalent to an attitude of consciousness which will not be able to realise, or recognise, the true significance of the structure it is observing unless it takes an attitude similar to the one that put the structure there in the first place. What is being observed will consequently remain an apparent accident or intent, take up the attitude inherent in the causes leading to the existence of the observed phenomena.

We may come to this idea again later on in this discussion, but there are other factors present in the holographic process which produce interesting analogies. One is the nature of coherent light itself and the other is the way the coherent light beam is divided into two parts in order that one part should explore the object and the other part remain unaltered. This is rather like a reporter holding a pencil in one hand and a notebook in the other. The pencil hand is actively engaged in recording the elements of the situation in question, while the notebook hand is doing the very opposite by being completely passive and blind to anything but the point of the pencil. If the notebook hand became excitedly engaged in the event that the reporter was noticing, then it would begin to exert its own tensions and movements on the movements of the pencil, thus upsetting the writing with the wrong sort of interference. But if the reporter had forgotten his notebook, then the correct sort of interference would be absent to cause the friction which rubs the lead off the pencil and stores it.

There are many other things that the reporter could have in his hand which would not be able to do this special pattern creation with the pencil. In fact the pencil and paper situation is part of a holistic idea that has been carefully evolved and the one has no life without the other. We tend to take the passivity of the notebook for granted, but we should not allow ourselves to do this. In practice, it can be observed that it is quite as much an art to be learned for the reporter to keep his book hand still, and with the right strength to maintain that stillness under pressure, as it is to manage the pencil hand that follows the special writing shapes of words. The point that is being made here, is that we are generally biased, in our present cultural attitude, to favour the more flamboyant activity of the writing hand and not give due attention and respect to the hand that appears to have a less obvious role to play.

The analogy of the physical light hologram will help us to take this understanding further and make the principle inherent in it even plainer. For here we see, in the diagram that describes the making of the hologram, the reference half of the beam of laser light taking the place of the reporter’s notebook and the working half the place of the pencil. The holographic process is thus providing its own pencil and paper holistic idea in the form of light. The comments of the pencil are thus written on the paper by the working beam talking to the reference beam, in the language of light and in the nature of light, in mid air, as it were, in front of the photographic plate. It is just fortunate that such a substance as the photographic emulsion is able to be placed there in order to record this happening of light events. The fact that this observation of the object by light is spoken in the elemental language of light is made clear by the fact that we will never find the shape of the object, as we see it, when we examine this holographic photograph. It is very likely that this holographic image occurred many times in the experiments of scientists before someone accidentally recorded this elemental image and wondered what it was. We can also imagine that it was some time before the scientist found out that the significance of its content could only be projected by one specific form of light.

In the nature of light, even more than in the nature of a pencil and paper, we notice that there has to be much attention to the exact nature of the relatively passive reference beam as there is to the activity of the working beam. What we take for granted in the reference nature of the light is that it contains the essential nature of light itself and, in coherent light, in a very pure form. The syndrome that this is pointing towards is the one that causes us to notice what an interesting phenomenon this interference pattern is, and yet, miss the fact that it is the wonderful property of light that enables the process to happen at all, and it is the reference beam which is supporting and recording the original undistorted nature of that light. The working beam has gone off on an adventure which has caused a distortion of its original nature through the experience of the object upon which it has been focused.

It is important for the working beam to be able to recover itself again after shedding its load onto the reference beam, for if it were all we had left to shine through the hologram, this distorted form of the coherent light would not be able to unlock its secrets. From the point of view of the life of a human being, our spiritual philosophies suggest that evolution of the true individual is the etching of our unique responses to experience upon a permanent base of fundamental reality. Over a very long period, this builds up a spiritual individuality which is a uniquely different mixture of possible qualities and talents. But the great secret which is constantly being urged upon us is that the substance of our permanent base is already a living and conditioned entity, whose special nature is not simply the passivity of a clean sheet of paper, but a passivity whose nature is already like that of a wonderful Divine Being whose personal characteristic we have glimpsed in the lives of holistic men, or holy men, who carry them to earth. When the significance of this reaches our understanding, we realise that the permanent self we are endeavouring to quarry out of experience can only be recorded and substantiated in qualities that are coherent to the nature of our permanent basis of reality.

The small, self-centred and casual qualities of diminished human nature will never ‘take’ upon the permanent Divine Ground, and there is nothing that any saviour can do about it if mankind does not understand this. Example can be shown us, and the way pointed out and explained, but if we do not etch ourselves wisely upon eternal substance, our initial spirit of life will wilt and fade in a temporary exhibition of foolishness. When a saviour tells us there is nothing He can do for us if we choose to sin against the Holy Spirit, He is saying that His love for us is not enough if we fail to recognise and value the already established qualities of the Holistic Spirit of our Creator's Nature. For He is the permanence He is offering to us, and His are the talents that our individuality is able to combine in a unique mixture. Qualities and talents which are alien to this Reference Nature are simply not coherent enough to be recorded or noticed, and are thus considered to be unfit for the responsibilities which our endless living together will entail. This seems to be the grown-up version of the message which the Christian Religion is meant to give to us, and which is the element in it which does the actual saving from extinction, or the unnecessary pains resulting from behaviour whose patterns are contrary to the preconditioned patterns of essential life. We have made such a mess of our interpretations of the childish forms in which this message has come to us, that the efficacy and seriousness of their import has been lost. We are now mature enough in our intelligence to grasp these great equations of understanding and realise that they are no different to the nature of Highest Love, which has been our emotional guideline of Grace.

The holistic reality of life is now beginning to dawn on many people through their greater respect for the natural environment of nature, and the clear messages we are receiving from nature, that, if we misuse her, she will be unable to support our physical existence. We must now hope that such an attitude will carry on through the humanist expression of holistic thinking to the level where we encounter a spiritual holistic awareness, whose sense of idealism and social conscience is leavened by an attitude which does not imprison mankind in a comfortable, safe and caring society which feels no need for the knowledge that stems from the Divine Coherent Awareness. For humanistic idealism, while moving in the right direction, is still not potent enough to capture the whole spirit of man and burn it, with the correct intensity, upon the untarnished elements of our individual grail of life.

It emerges from this progressive scale of holism in the physical, psychic, spiritual and divine realms that the reciprocal principle of ‘do as you would be done by’ becomes more active and acute as the progression is made, so that our liking and respect for one another is not simply an expression of affection, but also a mechanical law. It is a law because all Creation is built upon a Primal Hologram and the reciprocity of the holistic interference nature functions throughout. We may also notice that the paper and pencil principle becomes a more living phenomenon as it moves into light waves, and thence into mind waves of a finer and finer order, until it is superbly efficient at the cosmic level, where information about all things is everywhere present in such a way that ordinary time and space considerations evaporate. Thus we may imagine the mind of God to be present everywhere, and the miraculous nature of mind most clearly indicated. The paradox being that, as the reality and faith we seek becomes available to us, it does so through the senses of our higher nature which we have been conditioned to ignore. We are then in the position of someone who is trying to reproduce the physical image, locked in a language of the interference patterns of light upon a holographic photo plate, but doing it with rough and ready incoherent forms of light which only produce vague and distorted images, or none at all.

Let us propose now, that there is a creative principle present in the hologram made in mind, which cannot occur in physical holograms. And let us allow that this creativity increases with the greater efficiency of the highest order of mind; not only because the definition and accuracy is more acute, but also because the mind nature becomes more aware in its most primal form.

DIAGRAM 4 In this diagram we will follow the process of our original hologram of light but, instead of the source being a laser beam of coherent light, we will replace it with coherent mind. The two beams will then separate into the reference beam and the working beam. This working beam will then be directed onto the object, which in this case will not be a physical object as before but, instead, an idea of purpose which emanates from the individual to whom this mind nature belongs.

The interaction of these two parts of the mind, which meet as before at the place of the holistic photograph, causes a pattern to arise which carries the purpose of the individual into definitions of explicit detail which previously were only latent in the idea of purpose. This correspondence between light and mind has now taken a step away from physical reality into that of conjecture. The strength of this philosophical discussion will therefore depend on how many loose ends are able to be tied together through its use, and how elegantly it is done. But we now have an analogy in the stuff of mind, which will require a great deal of insight to explain. The suggestion here is that the nature of mind is such that it is able to bring to bear a computing intelligence upon the object, which is an essential abstract image.

The nature of this image, which contains emotional equivalents as well as formal concepts of purpose, will thus act as a complex command pattern when the working beam of mind falls upon it. These commands will then be carried on by the working beam to be presented to the reference beam. Instead of the reference beam merely recording the stress difference between itself and that of the working beam, as in the light hologram, this living expression of the reference principle in the intelligent nature of mind searches for the best response available in its store of memory and understanding. The work of the reference beam is thus to act as a store of all that has ever occurred to mind experience, and to respond intelligently to any demand that the working beam makes upon it. The result is, as we have already said, not a mechanical measure of the stresses left in the working beam after its visit to the object, as in the case of light, but a reassembly of forms that have been understood, experienced and memorised, which most closely match the creative characteristics taken from the expression of the idea placed in the path of the working beam as it comes to remarry the reference beam in creative synthesis.

The leap in correspondence, which has been drawn from the analogy of the hologram, between the mechanical function of light and the intelligent function of mind will become a barrier for those people who like a scientific basis for reason. There is a temptation here to gloss over the many extremely different attributes that our argument is suggesting belong to mind which do not belong to matter. Those who are able to feel a continuity through this gap are those who have already taken note of the many factors in our daily life which science is unable to account for or begin to explain, and who are now looking for more intuitive attitudes with which they can tackle the understanding of life. But there is no disguising the fact that the change in ability of function, from the physical to the mental hologram, is very great indeed. This philosophy wishes to draw attention to this large and radical difference, for without this appreciation the value of further discussion will be lost.

To draw attention to the scale of change in our thinking at this point, we can imagine the difference between the speed of a snail compared to that of a fast aeroplane. But the differences we might have to prepare for in the nature of mind are far greater than these, and are certainly likely to be beyond anything we may find associated with the physical brain itself. We should expect such differences as exist between the speed and ability of a mathematical prodigy and that of the ordinary plodding pupil. The one gives a correct answer immediately to a problem that takes the other hours to complete. We may also look at the subtlety of a young Mozart, in terms of musical awareness, compared to that of his fellows. The extremes are so great that we often feel they are beyond comparison. The scientist Nikola Tesla showed many traits of this sort in his personality, which were not only the mathematical genius of the prodigy, but also the tremendous memory which enable the man to keep a record in his head of all the work he was ever engaged upon.

An even more wonderful ability appears in the mind of Tesla, which comes much closer to the hologram analogy we are looking for. This was Tesla’s extraordinary ability to build experimental models in his imagination, which were so clear and explicitly defined, that he was able to take measurements from them as one would from an engineering drawing. And more extraordinary still, in several cases he was able to run these prototype models of machines in his imagination as he would run them on a test bed in his workshop. These tests on the working models in his mind could be left to run on in one mental compartment while he consciously turned other aspects of his mind to practical problems in the world around him. When he wished, Tesla could withdraw the compartment in which a test taking place and look at his machine to see how it was performing, and whether it would have to be modified or not. The indications being that there are proper abilities in mind which are hardly displayed in our human nature because of the amount of that ability which is filtered off by the diminishments inherent in the human brain. When the individual psyche is suitably evolved, and the physical transmitter of the brain is finely adapted to it, we will likely find more often this characteristic of Tesla’s mind through which one part of its nature formulates the solution from a universal and timeless order. The intelligent way in which this is done we call genius, and is uncommon in our present human condition, but when we are able to liberate the true nature of mind we are lead to expect that such creative computing will become more common among all of us, and be felt to correspond to the exploratory activity of the working beam of mind being able to put questions to the reference beam of mind.

The implication in this ability of undiminished mind is not only that it is in continuous touch with the whole knowledge stored everywhere throughout the universe of mind, but also that the answers to problems are always available, and do not require time in the way we need time to cogitate and think about them. It is still wise to imagine that it will always be necessary for man to learn how to think in the cogitative way but, as in the case of our learning to drive a car, there comes a time when we must be able to switch from conscious to automatic ability, once that ability has been fully understood by us. In the case of the typewriter on which this discussion is being written, the fingers go to the keys as the words require them to do, but the conscious mind in use, which formulates the sequence of words to meet the ideas, would be quite unable to describe where the letters are upon the keyboard. This part of the activity was learned a long time ago and has become second nature or automatic, and in doing so has liberated the ability to transmit essential ideas of philosophical argument onto paper without the cogitation required when the learning process was happening. The hologram that is able to type is now in a compartment that deals with the movements of fingers and is no longer in that which deals with thinking awareness.

In a similar way, the ability to order thought in a sequence that would relate them effectively has been learned consciously through experience. But that literary ability to find the right word and sequence of words has become part of another hologram of experience. This hologram exists in the human world personality of the psyche and could be felt to be more closely associated with the two halves of the human brain. The left half being the defining, analytical part, while the right half is the reference part. The sense of artistic enjoyment arises in this hologram when the left brain fully trusts the ability of the right brain. The function is often spoiled by the left brain being so dominant, due to the bias received in its education, that it tries to dictate to the right brain what sort of answer it should come up with. The result is that the use of words becomes cramped and pedantic, and the unusual but more expressive word sequences suggested by the right brain are ignored.

Further to these holograms at the levels associated with the finger movements and the left and right brain, is another hologram which handles the definition of the philosophical concept with its working beam, and suggests a strategy of ideas to express the concept with its reference beam. We realise, of course that this encounter does not have to follow the special pattern we used in the diagram for the hologram of light. We can imagine that the synthesis of question and reply happens through a method which is as subtle as the genius of mind is subtle, and yet the two processes of question and answer are clear and distinct. The ability to pose a good problem, or ask a good question, is as much a part of the genius as that which is liable to bring forth a good response. The attitude of trust on the part of the questioner is also an integral part of the value of the reply. The fact that effort and force is alien to the correct working of this creative synthesis is apparent in the realisation that the reference beam is only too glad to give its best to the working beam. It does not need to be either forced, or even coaxed. Pressure of this sort is almost equivalent to rape, and simply shows that the individual has not reached the level of evolution which knows how to behave with proper respect. Such an immature person has not realised that force is distorting the question being asked and preconditioning the answer.

The fundamental hologram which causes the previous hologram to choose to discuss a series of philosophical ideas, can be understood to be one which sets the mood within which the individual finds some ideas more attractive than others. For most people this level of awareness and creativity is too tenuous to be observed and is consequently taken for granted. The usual attitude to this level of awareness is that it is simply who the person is. The collection of attitudes, in this case, is taken for the definition of identity. The individual is the choice of ideas, or he feels that he is the sum of the ideas that he likes. We may come to see that this is a reasonable half-truth, and does indicate a good deal about the nature of the individual, but the real truth is that the individual is still imprisoned by this idea of himself.

To be free of this limitation, this level of awareness can be taken to be another creative hologram in which the whole sense of self is able to be redesigned in the light of a deeper identity which can appreciate, as well as observe, such a situation. This is the hologram around which our proper spiritual and religious instincts come alive, for it is here that the wholeness of the individual gathers itself together as a working beam and presents itself to the Primal Reference Beam. The individual does this as he learns that The Primal Nature is the cause of all creation. As he becomes wise, a person checks his wisdom against the source of all wisdom. As he does this, the freedom of the way in which he does it confronts him. He comes to realise that he may relate to the Primal Reference Nature as part of an impersonal holographic function, or he may relate as a child to his Father-God, or a friend to his God, or a friend to his Friend.

DIAGRAM 5 The Primal Hologram may be taken in two difference ways. It can be understood in the way it is defined in this diagram, where we begin with Primal Coherent Awareness, which is also Divine Awareness. The passive and active natures are then divided into the reference beam, which can be considered to be the female and mother beam, and the working beam which describes the male and father beam. The masculine nature looks at the purpose for which creation is to be designed and then presents this set of considerations to the feminine nature which holds within it the store of all understanding and experience belonging to God. The interaction of these two natures, or two aspects of the same nature, is the blueprint for creation, including the pattern which brings about the human nature that we are experiencing. This Primal Hologram therefore permeates the whole of creation and is the one that has been previously described as being so efficient that its resonant, coherent understanding telescopes the time and space of the physical universe, with all its vast distances and numbers, into an instant whole.

DIAGRAM 6 As our human nature evolves and we become wise, so we learn to refer ourselves to the nature of the Primal Hologram in an impersonal way, or to God, its creator, in a more personal way.

In this diagram the awareness of God has designed a way of enabling a working beam to become involved with creation which contains the individual seeds of the nature of His children. These individuals gain experience of life, and are taught to refer their experience to the Divine Reference Nature present in the most essential level of their being. As they do this, a resultant individuality is imaged which has been modified by the Divine Nature and is thus able to become coherent to the permanent reality of God.

The art of contacting this reference nature is the subject of all religious and spiritual disciplines, and it can be seen to be the art of developing in ourselves a coherent attitude which closely resembles that from which all created things arose in the first place. When we achieve this coherent awareness within ourselves we also find that, if it is applied to the handiwork of God in His creation, it is as if we were applying coherent light of the correct sort to a holographic pattern. It immediately unlocks the ingredients of the hologram which had previously been hidden in it. When we look upon a landscape in this way, we not only see the hills and meadows, but we also begin to see the poetry of beauty and love which describes the nature of the person of God who put it there. We then see these same characteristics acting out the wonder, which is the inspiration for the whole of creation, in the living company about us; in an ugly form where they are misunderstood and abused, and beautiful where they are appreciated and enjoyed. But until we learn to conform to a coherent view of life, the complexity of the outer expressions of everyday living leave us with a feeling of bewilderment and futility. In this state all the unholistic characteristics of life abuse are encouraged.

The disciplines of mind control and meditation can now be understood as some of the means whereby we enable the minor holograms in our nature to link with the larger ones which lead to the Primal Hologram of God. But in the teaching and presence of Christ, we have a demonstration of the sort of person that our God is, that not only enables us to respond to His Holistic Spirit, but enables us to approach the living Person of that God from whom this Divine Hologram emanates. Whereas this Divine Hologram is a conscious spiritual presence which nurtures and guides all things in creation, it is there to pave the way for the true purpose of creation which comes about when mature, unique individuals choose to befriend one another, and their God, upon the Absolute Ground of Being, with full appreciation of one another and the fundamental integrity which accompanies it. It is then possible to live out the significance of the true nature of love in the context of endless growth and discovery which is the virile aspect of divine friendship.

When we look into this creative aspect of friendship, we realise that the permutation of the potential within the unique mixture of characteristics present in real individuals leads to endless numbers of new schemes of manifestation in which such potential is worked out in explicit detail. In terms of this philosophy, we can say that friendship of this order is the interference pattern caused by one person’s working beam touching upon the reference beam of the other, so that our creativity is not limited to our own potential alone, but is widened to include that of all our friends, which multiplies the situation to an enormous extent. Thus our God removes the restriction He might feel without friends, being a limit set on joyous fulfilment leading to what we can describe as boredom. But with only a handful of friends, there are new mixtures of potential available which will fill such lives almost endlessly.

DIAGRAM 7 In this diagram, two individuals are represented by the two different geometrical shapes. In the space between them we see the point of creative permutation, which is like a Pandora’s Box from which flows a fountain of new combinations of characteristics inherent in the two individuals. The distance between the two persons is that which defines the difference between living potential and collapse.

If the situation collapses, then the two forms fuse with each other permanently so that there is no longer an ‘I-thou’ relationship. By becoming completely one they short-circuit the potential of tension which exists in their difference, which is the fire of new life and creativity. This living fire can only be kept alive upon the knife edge caused by the balance between the will to unite and the will to create, between the restful oneness of the mother and the restless exploration of the father.

In the highest order of friendship we learn to play both male and female roles towards one another, in the sense that we are able to participate with either our female reference nature or our masculine working nature to bring about new holograms of creative endeavour. If it is the case that this highest friendship is what is sought in this present creative endeavour by our God, then we can understand how important it is that only true individualities arise from it, but that they are able to appreciate the will to creativity which enable them to stand upon their own ground, and apart from one another, in the context of a limitless appreciation of one another, which is the love our God longs to share with us.

It is probably true to say that all the paradoxes and enigmas of life will one day turn out to be the great equations of being, through which, in our mature understanding, we will realise that much of the way our reality is coming to us is the only way it can properly occur. When we feel that the way people misbehave to one another creates an inference that our God of love cannot really exist, it is because we do not yet understand the real significance of God’s endeavour. We still think of it as the failure of God to programme us properly, so that we would live in harmony automatically.

When it dawns upon us that our God is giving us so much more reality than mechanical obedience we realise that He cannot avoid the equation by which we must learn every value for ourselves through the freedom of trial and error of experience. This much fuller gift requires a tremendously long and thorough education, in which we not only grow our real individuality, but also acquire the strength and understanding to handle it with integrity and fullness of zest. No wonder that we do not understand the significance of life when most of us are still at the primary level, and no wonder that one short term is not sufficient to take in all the lessons needed to move to higher schools and eventually graduate.

The attitude of coherent awareness is none other than that described as Christ consciousness, and that is exactly why the spirit contained in His life is able to germinate the spirit in our life until our own coherence can reach out and touch upon the great reference nature of God, our best friend. Only Jesus has portrayed the paradox of power confronted by a humility of affection which points specifically towards this enigma of highest friendship. Now we can begin to see all this in terms of the sublime equations which govern that great drama of His life.

Yet another reason comes to us as we look at the need God may have for real mature friends. We realise that it is only such people, and none other, who can really understand all of God’s treasures. To possess a number of beautiful things and have no one to share them with can detract from the full enjoyment of them. Older children can understand something of such treasured things, young children almost nothing; only mature individuals who can draw on rich experience are able to feel as God feels about His greatest treasures. It may seem strange at first, but it is not unreasonable to consider that God longs for friends to whom He can show His most beautiful possessions. With great patience He is offering us our education so that one day some of us may choose to look into his most intensely beautiful treasure chest and understand why it is so. Perhaps all, or perhaps only some will be able to do this.

No one knows the ultimate secrets within loving friendship any more than we know the ultimate secrets within loving friendship any more than we know the ultimate nature of humans we call friend. These things remain to be endlessly disclosed and constitute a further reason for valuing one another. As a guide, we notice that the man Jesus could not help being closer to his disciple John in the personal sense, although He loved them all. There is nothing any of us can do about this, it is the mysterious personal chemistry of love which can never be tamed and will always apply. Even amongst the most intensely beautiful treasures, those who are able to view them will be drawn to one thing rather than another. And this is how we would always have it, the reasonable unpredictableness of individuals, fully alive amongst one another, responsive to the Primal Hologram of God but never collapsing upon it. The Divine Hologram itself always being willing towards us, as we are learning to be willing towards it, up to the parameters of the Great Holistic Spirit whose nature is the limit set upon this.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Divine Love from The Great Gift

Divine Love

For those of us who are able to accept that behind creation is its Creator who we recognise as a God of love, our next step is to try and understand what a God of love really means. To do this we have to put it into terms that we can understand as a part of our own experience.

We can realise for ourselves that love can be passive or active. We can know for ourselves that it is possible to sit down and simply radiate love, like a light bulb radiates light, in all directions but not directed in any particular way to any particular thing. This is passive love. Then we can also feel that it becomes a different sort of love if we begin to direct this radiation onto an object, say a stone. There is now a relationship, and a focus of attention between the lover and the stone.

Then we can feel a difference again if we direct this loving attention onto something which can be termed to be more fully alive, such as a plant or a flower. This time we recognise a relationship which has a wider range of responses in it, and it is easier and more satisfying to love such a responsive thing.

But now, if we look at how we feel if we direct our loving attention to even more living objects such as pet animals, human beings and children we realise that our love and relationship can grow again and become even more valuable. And if these human beings are of a more deeply beautiful and gracious order, then the activity of our love leaps into higher and higher expressions which are more valuable and delightful.

Finally from the experience of our love directed actively to a most valuable human being, we can move again to a situation in which we are able to love a perfectly beautiful and gracious person, and this is our God of love, and because this God is most alive and responsive, this experience of actively directed love can be the most sublime. And although we now direct our love in all directions, because God is Divine Spirit and exists in all directions, our love is no longer passive but on the contrary, very active indeed.

In this highest form of active love we must therefore have the one who loves and the one who is loved in order to arrive at a responsive situation. So we have two individuals, our God of love and the one who loves Him, but it is very important to realise that at this precise degree of love the one who loves God enters into a Divine relationship in which both individuals are of the same order, even if God is far more mature than the individual who is loving him.

So at the moment that the individual really loves God as another individual who can be loved, then the two of them become friends in the Divine nature or specieshood to which they both belong. This means that God no longer has to be God, but can become a friend to the one who loves Him and can love his friend back again in the way that love must if it is to express the fulfilment of its nature.

The one who loves God also gradually realises that he is loving a real responsive individual with whom he is now a friend, and this experience is confirmed by all the other experiences of love to be different from worship. For worship is a sort of one-sided love which does not allow for a response and therefore cannot move into friendship, because in worship we do not relate to God as a living being but we idealise God in a fixed image that we have in our own understanding and thus we prevent Him coming alive. We do this, no doubt, out of a diminished sense of our own value and adequacy and out of a sense of modesty. But we only have to look at the nature of love for a moment to realise that the truest form of love does not have to behave in this manner to whatever it finds desirable to love.

In fact we discover that it is most unkind to worship others rather than to love them because it fixes them in a mould they do not wish to be fixed in; in fact by worshipping people we imprison them. But love does not wish to imprison the one it loves, above all, love longs to give expansion and enhanced beingness to the one it loves. Love longs to be in a creative and growing relation- ship with the one it loves. Love is the highest expression of life itself, and life is never static, but always wishes to be aspiring and developing towards new and untried possibilities ties.

So what I feel the term a loving God really means, is that this God is trying to develop us to a stage where we can become His friends in this deeply loving, active, personalised way which allows the creative fruits of a friendship to arise between them which constantly keeps pace with the liveliness and creative aspiration of the living spirit of our common Divine Specieshood.

When we enter this loving friendship with God, which enables Him to be a responsive individual as we are, then we discover that we are also able to befriend one another as well. And thus we find that God becomes our wisest and best friend among many friends. And if we look into the deep heart of love we will see that this is exactly what it has always wished for, and it is the motivation and mainspring behind the whole process that we know of as creation.

In a simple phrase we can say that the great longing in the heart of the Creator before creation began was the longing to give birth to individual children who would eventually become his friends in the everlastingness of the Divine Spirit which He himself exists in. The whole of creation is thus His method of bringing this about and it requires Him to give and us to receive the "great gift", which is the reality and conscious understanding of our own individualised Divine Being.

As friends, we know how important this individual difference we each have in ourselves is, even in the moments when we experience the greatest unity in love, or unity in the Beingness of life. And our growing wisdom helps us to understand that there is no simple or easy road to the development of this individuality in our natures. It cannot be programmed into us, or it would only be an artificial situation. It must be lived into our own nature by our own experiences and endeavours. We must learn the responsibilities that go with it and the pains and horrors that arise from the misuse and abuse of all aspects of its expression.

Thus we must see the need for the sort of freedom which allows for mistakes and abuse to occur if we are to live into the nature of our being for ourselves and not take short cuts which would only enable us to receive a part of the great gift that is being offered to us with such deep love and friendship.

Tuesday 24 April 2018

The Resolution of Grief from The Great Gift

The Resolution of Grief

A very deep form of grief is grieving over our own intuitive knowledge of our own value which we have not paid proper attention to, and we have not properly learned to use in the world for our own sake, or for the sake of others. It's as though the grief is about a beautiful treasure that was within our reach all the time and yet we didn't stretch out and use this treasure and enjoy it in the way it should be used and enjoyed.

The grief we feel of this very deep sort is often a grieving over the fact that we had within our reach another whole way of life, of this deep interior sort, which is the life which belongs to our divine beingness, and we hadn't used it, and we hadn't made it a part of our expressive existence with other people. Now this sort of thing is obviously more apparent to us when our life is held up to us for examination, which happens when we've lost somebody like a husband or a wife - someone we've been living very close to and made a very big part of our life. If for any reason they are taken away from us, then we are left to face up to ourselves. In doing that, I think we may be left to face up to this realisation that so much of our life has been wasted on secondary things when it could have been used in a far more valuable way on primary things.

The primary things I am meaning are the primary things which belong to the level of our deep innermost being; the level in us which recognises and knows about the beautiful and the valuable - the morally high-tone qualities, the loveliness of life, the loveliness in people, the beauty of the character in people. It knows about meaning and purpose, but it also knows, unfortunately, that it can take a path in life which allows for a substitute personality, with substitute activities, to take the place of its primary self with its primary activities.

When we are talking about grief, we are not talking about somebody else in us grieving over our own reality, what we are talking about is our own reality grieving about its own self. In other words, when you are in a state of deep grief, you are the one who you are grieving about. It is only the one who knows about the loss that is able to grieve and only the real you is able to produce symptoms of deep and real grief because only you, the Divine you, knows sufficiently about what it has been out of touch with to be able to grieve that deeply. It is a situation which, if you like, can be partly ugly and partly beautiful. It can be a self-resolving situation if you allow yourself to penetrate into the depths of true grief and don't stop at a halfway level, but you go all the way right into deep grief. If you go into deep grief you will start to get the feedback, the answer to true grief, because you will start to be with the self that you are grieving over. And if you start to be with that self you will start to be comforted by the nearness you have to your own reality all the time, which nearness you have forgotten about.

If you are in touch with your own reality and your own understanding, even if it is in a mood of grief; if you are in touch with that level of understanding, you will also be in touch with the level of your Divine Creator. I call the Divine Creator our Divine 'Father and Mother', from whom our being emanated; and through whose love for us, and through whose anticipation for our friendship, our existence is in the condition that we know it now.

Perhaps I should enlarge on what I mean by that. I mean that, from what I understand, the motivation for the whole of creation is that out of it should come a number of individuals who have chosen their own unique path to individuality and therefore become true unique individuals. The Creator longed for many of these true individuals to choose to realise 'Himself' and 'Herself' as a father and mother and as a friend; should choose to relate to this Creator as a friend, not so much as a God, but more as a friend. The more we grow in our understanding of our own reality and 'the gift', and the attitude behind the gift, from the Creator's position, the more we shall become able to take up this position of divine friendship with our Creator as well as with one another.

We shall be able to take up this position of divine friendship because, in our desire to read the heart of the Creator, we shall become more and more certain that it is the deepest thing that the Creator longs for. And with any friend this is the only motive we have - it is to read the deepest level of their Being and help to fulfil for them the deepest longings in their Being.

This is what friends long to do for one another. It is a very creative activity, and out of it comes an endless series of creative attitudes and creative activities. The one friend says to the other friend, 'From whoever I am, I have a great gladness about you, whoever you are.' And then the other says to the first one, 'From whoever I am, I am glad about you, whoever you are'. This gladness between both of them, and the lack of need to define the reality in either of them, creates a beautiful area of potentiality and creativity between them, from which flows an endless series of possibilities and of new actions and new responses, new life expressions. And this is what life is, full-of-lifeness, full of potential and full of newness, it never wishes to repeat a thing that it has achieved once.

It has such an ability to create and be creative, that it will always wish to do something in a new way, and it will always wish to live in a new, ongoing form of happening condition. Because we, in our human situation, feel we have such a paucity, such a lack of creativity, such a lack of ability, and are weighed down with our shortcomings, we find it hard to grasp that, behind all that, there is a reality in us and a reality in our Divine Creator which has the opposite attitude. This is so aware of its ability and its potentiality and its creativity, that it wouldn't dream of using anything else but these faculties in itself. It loses all desire to repeat activities and it would never wish to do anything else but draw something new out of its vortex of potentiality continually, forever and forever.

Now this is the sort of reality which, I think, the Creator has designed his university around. He's built a universe, which is a university, and He has sown us as seeds into this university, seeds full of potentiality. But we have to start to actualise the potentiality. And in fact, to my understanding, we've already done that for many millions of years. We have lived many thousands of lives in relating to all sorts of levels of creation already, before we've got to the level of being a human being. And I think we have probably lived many, many lives as human beings as well, and some of us have gathered more from those lives than others. Some of us have matured more fully than others. But there is no hurry, for speed is no measurement of our value. I think that we learn to become 'who we are' and learn to under- stand the value of 'who we are' and learn to understand the meaning of all values, by taking part in this university; not by 'being' a worm, or a beetle or a flower or a stalk of corn or stalk of barley, or a piece of rock, but by 'living with' the life of that rock, living with the life of that beetle, living with the life of that fish, living with the life of that dog, of that cat, living with the life of that flower, of that corn, of that barley. We 'live with' these life forms, we don't 'become' those life forms.

We are divine sparks, divine elements of reality. These life forms are living their own life and the Creator allows us to live with them, and that is His teaching method. We occupy the same house of form that the beetle is using; so we get in there alongside the beingness of that beetle. We are not the beetle, but we feel we are the beetle. Then we do the same thing with a flower, then we do the same thing with a wild animal, then we do the same thing with a domestic animal, which is a more evolved form of animal until we become a human being. Then we do the same thing with the life form of a physical body; we are not that physical body, but we live and inhabit the same form that the life of the physical body inhabits and we have to learn to overcome, at one stage in our development, the physical reality of that physical form; which is its personality, if you like, its personal attitudes, and impose on that life form the attitudes of our own true beingness. But we can only do that when we have reached a stage in our progress which enables us to understand that we are something other than the physical personality, that we are a soul, a spiritual reality, a divine reality. This is a definite step in our development, in our schooling, and we've met people in our life who give us the feeling that this is the level they have achieved, and we've met many other people who give us the feeling that they haven't yet achieved this level of separation. They haven't started to understand that they are something other than their physical beingness. They are learning a great deal by being a physical personality, but they still have to learn to take the step of understanding that they are a divine soul inhabiting a physical body. They have a personality which has been built up by the conjunction of the divine self with that physical life body form, and that is what we call the persona, the outer self, the ordinary ego.

Behind the ordinary ego, or within the ordinary ego, is the divine ego. So there's nothing wrong with being egotistic in the proper sense of the word. There is something wrong with being egotistic in a narrow sense of egotism, in which everything is built up around the importance of its own self centre. But as this egotism grows, as it should do in a healthy being, it naturally grows into its bigger self, and the bigger self naturally grows into the little self, and the two integrate. This is what psychologists describe as integration. It is the integration of the true self with the personality self of the physical body situation, and the two learn to live together and integrate completely. Then the personality becomes a wonderful instrument through which the divine self can experience, and learn, and interpret its learning, and communicate with other beings through physical forms, and through physical means of expression. In doing that, it learns a great deal, and helps others to learn a great deal, and it builds and builds and learns to express the divine potentialities that we've been talking about - the divine friendships and the endless possibilities which emanate from its true nature.

So there is nothing wrong with being an ego, which is another word for 'I' and 'Iness'. You never lose the sense of 'Iness'. You might lose the sense of knowing who your 'I' is, who you are, because the narrow sense of the personality ego - the smaller ego - often gets a very complete but restricted image of who it is, and it spends the rest of its life conforming to that image of who it is. But the divine ego, the spiritual ego, the true self, is able to be itself and, at the same time, know that it is in a state of becoming. It isn't very concerned to circumscribe itself, to give itself a definite image, because it knows that if it does, that it's going to limit its ability to respond in an ever new way to new possibilities.

So what happens in life, is that we gradually learn to integrate the smaller sense of ego with the deeper and greater sense of ego; and, without losing a sense of 'I', the 'I' begins to become equally concerned with the well-being of others as it is with its own well-being; equally concerned with the happiness and the beauty and the possibility of the others in creation, its brothers and sisters, as it is concerned with its own reality. So what happens, in a successful life, is that the ego broadens out and gets bigger in a proper loving, caring way; not bigger in a grasping way, which is centred on its own small and selfishly oriented appetites; more a growing, which is able to grasp the meaningfulness, and the value to itself, of the fulfilment of all other forms of life, and all other beings, and all its other brothers and sisters. Then the ego just grows and grows to include the well-being of all other egos. But there's nothing wrong in the sense of ego awareness. What we call egotism, on the whole, reflects an unhealthy attitude in which everything is drawn into the small-self for a small-self satisfaction, small-self fulfilment of the wrong order, not large-self fulfilment for the higher order. The small-self fulfilment is a lower order appetite such as appearing to be important in the eyes of other people, appearing to be clever, appearing to be valuable in some way which is superior to other people, trying to be 'one up' on other people and so forth.

Well, all this has taken us a long way from the original idea of grief, but we come back again to grief with the understanding that there is all this to grieve about. We begin to sense that we have the capability to live with a higher understanding of who we are but we haven't used that capability. We may have allowed it to become foreign to our nature and then suddenly something reminds us that we have this understanding and this capability, then that situation is one which causes the deep grief which we have been talking about. For the soul of our nature, our divine nature, recognises the sort of thing which we have been talking about and recognises the fact that it has let itself down; it had drifted away from its true significance, from its true value and from its true meaning. So, in a way, we should feel optimistic when we feel true grief because it is a sure sign that we are returning to the proper level of our being. It may be with a regret for what we have been doing with our life, but, at the same time, it is better to return with grief to the reality that we should be living with than be unaware of the fact that we are living a gay and superficially happy life which is, in fact, almost foreign and quite unimportant to the nature of the true self that we are.

We can understand that this is proper ground for feeling deep grief and deep sadness and deep disappointment and, of course, from that sort of grief we can develop overtones of anger with ourselves, impatience with ourselves. I suppose we can develop anger and impatience with the Creator and the way He has designed His system of teaching. We might feel angry that He hasn't stepped in and done more to remind us of what we would have liked to have been doing. But on the other hand, we discover, the more we look at it, that the Creator's teaching method is to allow us to make mistakes and to allow us to get ourselves out of our mistakes. The deeper the mistake we make and the more we have to struggle to get out of that mistake, the more we are going to learn about the nature of our being. It doesn't mean to say, necessarily, that we are going to be able to live a very saintly or holy or righteous life in the ordinary meaning of those terms, but, if we look at the purpose of the Creator, those terms surely do not describe the Creator's aim for our growth.

He doesn't want holy and righteous and over-good beings to share his life with him. He wants these qualities in their proper proportion but only as secondary natures to the Divine nature itself, which is loving and caring and ongoing and friendly and creative. That is the thing which you and I care about in our friends and you and I care about in our children. We don't want them to be over good, over cautious, over holy; over avoiding making mistakes, in a hurry to earn some recognition of being a very good and saintly character. This would go against the sort of quality which we would look for in our children. These may be spin-offs from a proper development of our own children but they wouldn't be the primary objects we would look for in our children. The primary ones would be affectionate, wholehearted friendship.

You see that friendship to us, and I'm sure also to our Creator, is more important than our ability to avoid making mistakes. As soon as we make a mistake we become, so to speak, unholy, unsaintly, unrighteous and not good. But in correcting those mistakes we gain understanding, and when we have truly gained a lot of understanding we become wise, and when we become wise we realise that wisdom is far greater than holiness or goodness or righteousness as we understand those things. For wisdom is the highest expression of love in action and from it such qualities as holiness, and righteousness and goodness are spin-offs. They are not the primary objective of wisdom. The primary objective of wisdom is to be itself - wisely to he its loving creative nature. Wisely, that means to the best advantage of all its friends and all the situations that it is aware of.

If we take a narrow view of the Creator's purpose for us, it might be the attainment of the ability to stay in a heavenly world that He created for us somewhere. To do that, the sooner we become holy and good and free of any sort of mistake the better. But if we do that, then we are surely going to limit our ability to learn; to learn to understand who we are, to learn to understand all the qualities that are available for us to understand, because we will limit the mistakes that we are going to make and, therefore, we will limit the understanding that comes to us through the correcting of those mistakes.

I feel that it is possible to say that, if the Creator had simply wanted us to become beautiful, righteous children who did nothing but be good, as it were, and delight in the Divine quality of loving, blissful, beautiful serenity, then He would have arranged for us to be born directly into heaven where we would have been with all these qualities. But if that had happened, then we would have lacked the understanding we are gaining through living through all those beautiful, heavenly qualities and their opposite, such as ugliness and unkindness and hatred and confusion, and pain and sorrow and grief and loneliness. Now, through the understanding of these, negative qualities, we come to know what positive qualities really are; but if we had only known the positive qualities, we wouldn't truly have known what they were. We would have been with them but we would have had nothing to compare them with. And it is only through the art of comparison that we come to an under- standing of the qualities that we handle and are capable of handling.

We cannot become the friends, that the Creator wishes us to become to one another and to Himself, if we have not got the ability to understand the nature of the qualities that are available to our being. It's no good if we simply live as heavenly beings in heaven because we would have little companionship with one another, or for the Creator, in a creative sense. We would have no ability to discuss the merits of the qualities that we know about. But if we have lived through them, as we do on earth; and their opposites, as we do on earth, then we would develop an ability to understand, objectively, the significance of beauty, of truth, of honesty, of things like kindness and care. How would we know about loving kindness or loving care in a place like heaven? There would be no need for kindness or for caring as we know it, everything would have been taken care of. There would be nothing to be kind about. We would be with the quality of love, but we wouldn't be able to express it in the form of care, and we wouldn't know very much about the sort of qualities that come out of the experience of great friendship. And these are the things that I think the Creator longs to give to us and wants to share with us in His nature.

So, in a way, we might say that grief is a sort of grieving for the Divine in us, it's a sort of grieving for our own reality which we have a sense of. It is also a grieving for our Divine parents, and it's possible, I think, to imagine that our Divine parents also grieve for us; particularly if we have established some sort of friendship for them at some time and then we may have gone back on it again. I also feel that the Creator's friendship for us and our friendship for the Creator must be as real and as chosen as our own friend- ships that we know about on earth. I don't think the Creator would force his personal friendship on us as a condition of our eternal life. I think it is possible for us to become one with the Creator's being in a far more impersonal way without noticing Him/Her as a person; without taking up this personal love of a divine friendship, which is offered to us by the Creator and longed for, on our behalf, by the Creator. And I think the Creator often grieves at the fact that, out of the number of his children who develop the understanding of their divine nature, only a proportion develop the ability to realise that the Creator wishes, above all, to form a true and distinct friendship with each of us in this personal form of reality.

It may be true to say that we can only develop the strength and the understanding, to understand and appreciate such a friendship, if we have been through a hard school, such as the school of earth provides. And it's possible to imagine that, if we hadn't come to a school like the earth level of schooling, where mistakes happen often, and where we continually have to correct them, and we have to learn the understanding and the strength to correct them with, then, perhaps, we would not develop the strength or the understanding to take up the Divine friendship which is offered to us in its fullness, because we wouldn't have had the experience to appreciate what it signified, and what it meant. We might take up a relationship with the Creator of loving affection and a sort of worshipfulness, an adoration of His beautiful nature which we can sense, but we wouldn't have the understanding of the friendship nature of the Creator unless we had been through a lot with Him and He had been through a lot with us.

This is exactly what happens in a situation like earth. And I don't think the Creator would have forced us into this sort of situation which we've got into on earth. I think it is due to a series of rebellious activities. I think the Creator would have known that such activities would lead to pain and suffering on a very large scale so He wouldn't have forced them on us. Yet, paradoxically, I think the Creator realises that when this situation came about, and we developed these unhappy, unpleasant and painful experiences, that they could be turned to very good ends and could increase the amount of the gift of divine understanding and divine strength that He is trying to give us, and in so doing, increase the amount of friendship and the amount of reality we could carry.

So, I think, out of the suffering of the earth is going to come a wonderful good, which many of us can't begin to imagine. Out of it is going to come a wonderful good which our Divine parents are perhaps longing for more than anything else, which is a conscious and deliberate taking-up of the friendship which they offer, and the affection which they offer. We can only do that when we have sufficient understanding, sufficient maturity of being and sufficient strength of being, to sustain such a relationship, to carry the confidence and the trust and the love that such a relationship entails.

Another aspect of grief would be the sort of grief we might feel if we know that our life is coming to a close; if we are faced with death; the grief about the loss of life, loss of reality and the loss of the dear ones around us. But, here again, if we really allow our feelings to go deeply into that grief, we realise that it brings the same harvest to us as the grief we were talking about earlier on. If we go all the way with that grief we get into a beautiful form of grief in which we realise we are at one with the being who values these things that we are grieving over; who values with us the beauty of the life we feel we are about to lose, the beauty of the people whom we are going to lose touch with, and this brings us to an understanding of reality which we have been looking for all our lives, to 'be with' in order to live the self that we have an intuitive, instinctive feeling about. When we say we are grieving over the fact that we are about to part company with the world, and with our family and our friends, and our dear ones, the grieving is over the loss of love. If we get all the way into that grief we will realise that we are with the one who knows how to love. The grief and the knowing of how to value what we grieve over, we find, are in the same area of our being. And this will bring us to a knowledge that we are truly with our Divine self and the grief becomes beautiful grief. There's no need to think that we have to lose that grief, all we do is transform it into a positive beautiful thing, because in this experience the loss makes the heart grow fonder, the anticipation of loss brings us closer to the lovingness of our own nature, and the lovingness of our own nature brings us close to our whole reality and the reality of our Divine parents, our Creator.

This grief can come as a wonderful gift to us if we accept it with the whole of our nature and are not afraid of it. If we take it upon ourselves, we will find that the grief is very close to the love that we've always wished to give full expression to. The grief itself is only an indication to us of the ability to love that we have in our nature, and this is exactly the confirmation of our own nature and of our own reality that we have always been seeking. So any great pain of that sort, any great suffering of that sort, has behind it a compensation which is an exact measure of the pain, and which exactly meets our needs.

We can feel, that in grief in general, we are not simply grieving for ourselves and grieving for our own reality and grieving for our Creator, we can also feel that the Creator is truly grieving for us and our own reality is grieving for us and the two forms of grieving are bringing us to ourselves. If we go the whole way with it and don't defend ourselves from this grief and from this suffering, we will be drawn into our true self. And if we are drawn into our true self, we will be drawn very close to the quality which is in the nature of our Divine parents - our Divine Mother and Father, Creator. Like all things in life and like all the values that we are being given, the greatest events and the greatest values come through great joy and great suffering In the end we come to be wise and to realise that the fruit that we gather and the treasure that we gather is equally valuable from joy and from suffering. We would feel as upset if someone tried to take away our suffering as we would if someone tried to take away our joy, and this takes us into the nature which we are, which is not only loving and very real but also has this instinctive understanding in it, which we call wisdom.