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.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Wisdom from The Great Gift


Wisdom has to start with our ordinary understanding of the term 'wisdom' which we know is a relative term, in the same way as we know the term 'beauty' is a relative term - relative to the attitude and the perception, as it were, within the eye of the beholder. And so wisdom also is relative to the perception and the eye of the beholder of actions and responses which are measured in terms of being more wise or less wise. But, behind the ordinary terminology of wisdom, we may suppose that there is a deep absolute form of wisdom which is in line with, and in tune with, the absolute level of our being and the absolute creative intention behind the manifestation of the universes at all their levels, from the most ethereal level, which we call the heavenly levels, down through the more and more dense levels to the most dense and concrete, which we call the earthly levels.

My understanding of this absolute form of wisdom depends on an ability I believe we have to resonate with the deep heart of our being into the deep heart of the Creator's being and feel, with that very deep sense of in-feeling, how the Creator felt towards creation before it began. In other words one can learn to feel what it was that the Creator was longing for, aspiring to, or simply desiring, from the great work and the great effort that he has engaged in in what is known to us as creation. Now, if we can feel with all our deepest understanding, our deepest intelligence and our deepest perception, what it was that the Creator looked for, above all else, in creation, then, and only then, shall we be close to the absolute point of wisdom which I believe is in the absolute point of deepest desire in the heart of the Creator's being.

As I myself attempt to do this, I come away with the understanding that the greatest longing that was in the Creator's heart before creation, and which brought about creation and brought into existence the individual beings, who each of us is in the Creator's eyes and to one another, was the desire to have real individual friends, in the deepest possible meaning of that word. Friends to share his understanding, his joy and his wisdom within the context of real friendship, which creates a vital relationship between each friend and the other friend, from which ever-renewing possibilities and responses can grow. My feeling is that the Creator first of all wished to bring into existence real and individual children, whose nature was based on a part of his own divine nature, but the characteristics of which were to be developed by each of those individual children as they grew up in the universes, or the universities, of his creation. They would develop in the nature of their own individual spirits, so that each of those children would become a unique individual child and then, hopefully, would become more than a child - would wish to grow into a mature condition which was not as a child to the Creator, but was as an individual being to the Creator. Thus all these beings could each have creative relationships of friendship and gladness with one another and with the Creator. Not with the Creator as a special 'God' individual, who was not approachable as other friends are approachable, but He himself wanted to be able to befriend us and have a creative friendship with us as we befriend one another and have a creative friendship with one another.

In the heart of the Creator's being we find all manner of wonderful things; but we find, above all, great love, great affection, great beauty, great sweetness, great gentleness and great strength. We find all the great qualities, such as courage and devotion, which to us become deeply valuable properties of our most valuable relationship. Now, the nature of wisdom as we will try to define it, is something other than the nature of love.

We can understand that the Creator's nature is, as it were, all love, but wisdom is the application of that love to the purposeful aspiration or desire which emanates from that love which, in the case we are talking about, was to bring into existence real individual children who have unique characteristics of their own and who were truly separate and autonomous beings. These would learn to live and grow amongst one another according to the specieshood of the divine nature, but within that specieshood, would develop the ability to express their own unique characteristics and express the initiative and spiritedness which emanates from any healthy spiritual being. Thus they would be able, as they gained more strength, to stand apart and upon their own feet, in a metaphorical sense, in order that each of these individuals could be a unique polarity to which other individuals could relate, and between which living polarities, new, ever growing, vortices of creative potentiality would develop.

Now wisdom, as I would understand it, is the appreciation of the value that comes out of the effort, and the means to bring about this great desire, as the means become available in terms of this created universe at all its levels. We understand that, after the universe was created and prepared, the spirits, the particles of the Creator's being, which were individual units of his own being nature, were sown into this universe as pupils are placed in a university. In it they work from the lowest level of the university up to the highest level of the university and, eventually, learn to appreciate the nature and value of the university as a whole, from the highest level to the lowest level. Wisdom begins by understanding that these potential children cannot become real, in any sense of that word, if they are prestructured or pre-programmed in such a way that their individuality and their sense of selfhood cannot be properly developed and appreciated by them.

If the Creator in any way subverts the processes which maintain the individual autonomy of each of these children as they grow and mature, then the Creator is allowing the desire and longing to slip away from the possibility that the universe contains for the bringing about of that great longing. So, from the beginning, the Creator had to work with wisdom to create processes which would allow for the potentiality of each of these Divine particles, who were individual children in a potential condition, gradually to become aware of the structure of values and relationships that it was living in with regard to nature and to other individual beings. And this had to be brought about in such a way that at no time was the individual overawed or over-dominated by the too great nearness or presence of the Creator's own personality. For, if that occurred, then the dominance of the Creator's personality would stamp itself completely upon the individuality of the individual child and prevent that individuality flourishing in its fullness; which it must do if it is to carry any real value as a real child in its own right.

So we can understand that, from the beginning, a great wisdom was needed which understood that, although the Creator was longing that each of his children should understand the value of, and the nature of, each of the Divine qualities, these children could not have an objective understanding of divine qualities if they were not able to experience them in a condition which would allow for the opposites of those qualities to be experienced at the same time. Thus to enter into the judgement of the value of the qualities which each of them must learn to apply for themselves. It would have been very beautiful and very happy for us all to have been born into a perfect and heavenly environment, perhaps close to the person and, shall we call it, the home of our Divine Creator, but this would not have produced in us the qualities which the Creator's heart most longed for; which was a longing for the quality of unique individuality which each of us longs for in a friend.

A friend is one who can stand apart from us in strength and values us in freedom as we would value them in strength and freedom. We value our friends not so much in terms of their cleverness or their special abilities, but for their profound uniqueness of characteristics which they exhibit towards us as completely separate autonomous individuals.

Now wisdom has to learn to discriminate between the lower forms of love and affection and the higher forms of love and affection. The lower forms of love are not true forms of love at all, but are the desire and the need for one another to supply the gratifications which are necessary to the outer forms of our being nature and the appetites which go along with the outer forms of our being nature. The deeper and real forms of love and affection are not based on the desire to use individuals as a source of gratification of needs, but rather we are very deeply glad about the existence of the other individual in an entirely undemanding way. The basis of the friendship is nothing other than the deep and instinctive recognition of the divine individuality in that other being, and all that divine individuality implies in terms of potentiality.

So real friendship and real love is a very creative, purposeful, ongoing situation, which desires that new things, new possibilities, new responses, should forever arise from that friendship. Wisdom is that knowledge which recognises the nature of true loving relationships and true friendships, and recognises the way that the individual children of God have to be brought in a very slow and gradual state to a condition of self awareness, through which their individuality will receive the greatest encouragement to grow and develop without being overshadowed and overruled by the potency of the Creator's own being and characteristics.

So we can see that wisdom is that understanding which realises the value of the means, and every moment that those means are striving to achieve the end, which was the initial desire for divine children and divine friends to share divine life with. We are saying that wisdom is that understanding which realises that you can only have a deep friendship with an individual who has a deep set of experiences and characteristics; who has deep awareness, which is supported by strength and integrity, of the objective significance of each of the divine qualities which are exhibited in the university, the universe, and which come to us through the activities that each of us play out for the other in the processes or life.

Wisdom will therefore be at great pains to draw out the potentialities and the benefits from the rich mixture of spontaneous responses that all of the individual children of God produce for one another. So far as those responses are unique and individual, then so far do they carry the possibility of producing some spontaneous mixture which did not exist before, and, upon which, other spontaneous mixtures and responses may be built, to produce new possibilities for new understandings and new growth, not only in creation but in terms of eternal purpose and eternal value.

So we can see then that wisdom is that ability in us that can stand back and, through its knowledge that you can only have a thin relationship with a thin personality, can appreciate the thickening of the characteristics of individuality which occur in a very rich and spontaneous and uninhibited form of existence, which is full of initiative and spontaneity. This is the spontaneity which makes mistakes and realises, through its own sense of responsibility, the fact that it has made mistakes, and, through its own sense of responsibility, wishes to put those mistakes right again and correct them. Now this sort of richness can only come to those individual children in a level of the university in which mistakes can occur. My own feeling is that these mistakes can only occur at the lower end of the university, and, as our nature gravitates to a more and more ethereal level of experience in the university, so does the possibility of creative spontaneity and endeavour become less and less.

Whereas, at the higher levels, the enjoyment and adoration of the beautiful divine qualities, that are not only in the Creator's being but present as potentialities in our own being, absorb our whole attention, the desire to use our initiative and the desire to enter into creative and exploratory forms of life, disappear. We can understand that if our educational processes at the lower end of the university were perfect as they are in the higher and more heavenly level of the university, then the initiative to make mistakes and correct them again may be lacking. We would be unable to experience the opposite of all the values of the divine nature, such as love being experienced against the quality of hatred, and kindness being experienced against the quality of cruelty, and weakness being experienced against the quality of strength, and beauty being experienced against the quality of ugliness.

Now this ability for us not only to see and feel and experience the qualities which we come to value most deeply in terms of their opposites, but our ability to get into situations, through the use of our own initiative, which have to be corrected and thoroughly understood before we become clear of those situations again, does not occur at any other level than that of the most concrete and separate forms of creation, which the physical level of creation represents. It represents the most crystallised form of the Creator's spirit in action and therefore, at this level as in no other, are we able to define the specific significance of all the divine potential qualities which exist in our nature and in the Creator's nature; through perceiving them and understanding them, being involved with them, having to use them, having to use them correctly, and correct them when we use them incorrectly.

This sort of experience produces true wisdom and true understanding, and produces in us a deep awareness of the significance of the Creator's great work on our behalf. This attitude towards the significance of wisdom helps us to understand why it was, in the allegorical sense, that the Creator allowed us to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and yet, at the same time, warned us that it would be a thing which would cause us pain. The Creator knew that in order to fulfil the great longing in his heart to produce craggy, leathery, strong individuals, who had deep characteristics of individuality in them, we would have to enter into a level of experimental living in which mistakes occurred and which pain would be felt as a result of those mistakes occurring. As the source of love and affection, the Creator himself could not force us into that situation; he could not place us in that place in which pain must come to us. But on the other hand, he could take us close to the door which led into this field of experiment and pain, and hopefully wait for our initiative to become strong enough to take us through that door. So that we, from our initiative, entered into the realm of pain and suffering through the spiritedness of our spirit and the desire to know all things; to register the true value of ourselves in a deep sense and to register a sense, which is very strong in us, of being the arbiter of our own actions and the carrier of responsibility for those actions.

In other words, it was the deep, instinctive sense of the godlike creative experimental and responsible individuality which led us through that door into the world of the knowledge of good and evil, and caused us to be engaged with good and evil in a way which we were not engaged with them before. Because, before we entered that door and experimented unwisely with the forces of our own being, we were not engaged with the processes and the qualities of evil, we were only engaged with the processes and the qualities of good.

Although we may have chosen to remain on the good side of that door and not pass through it, if we had done so we would have lost the potentiality of growth and development which can only come to us through the deep, tragic, heroic and painful experience which comes to us through the misuse of our godlike abilities, but which also registers in us the godlike remorse and the godlike desire to correct the mistakes we make as we make them.

So that great wisdom, whereas it will not force people into situations which it knows are incorrect and painful, at the same time will learn to wait for the individual to work out the results of such wrong engagement in life. Because wisdom knows that it is only through the wrong engagement in life that some greater value than obedient perfection can arise, which is not an ability to be in perfect harmony with all the beautiful qualities of the divine nature, but is, in fact, the ability to know on its own account, to know for itself, to know objectively within its own experience, why the divine values are divinely valuable, and what the values are which detract from and destroy those divine values.

From that type of knowledge arises a great strength and a great wisdom and a great love, which cannot arise if that spirit has not passed through the gate into the world of knowledge of good and evil. It is only on the other side of that gate that great strength will be required to recover from mistakes, and it's only on the other side of that gate that great mistakes will be made and great understanding developed in order to recover from those mistakes.

So we can see that great wisdom is not engaged in interfering with the processes of life in order to tidy them up, in order to do away with disharmony, in order to do away with the crosscurrents of life which stir the pot of experience and produce a rich soup of opposing currents and values and desires and attitudes. Yet, at the same time, wisdom is certainly not indifferent to suffering, and it is not indifferent to the fact that continually the experiences produce a stumbling and a faltering, and mankind has to be rescued and brought back to a reasonable level of buoyancy again from which further movements and further experiments can be made.

In a sense, although wisdom does not interfere, wisdom is always on the lookout for a situation which has gone too far, and become so negative that nothing of value can arise from the situation anymore. Then wisdom will try and suggest to an individual who is stuck in such a situation that there is a way out which that individual hasn't yet seen.

Thus, the way out will produce a form of recovery which will lead to the individual realising why he has fallen, why he has got stuck in a situation which has stopped life happening to that individual, stopped experience growing and developing, stopped understanding and awareness growing in the individual.

Wisdom, while it will stand back and allow people and individuals to make mistakes, will equally engage in rescuing people from mistakes and from over-stressed situations, from which those individuals cannot rescue themselves. We can see that wisdom is a very deep awareness which is continually balancing out all the processes engaged in building deeper and deeper characteristics into the individuality which exists in each of the divine children of the Creator.

Wisdom is encouraging each of those divine children to grow into a level beyond childhood, which is more mature than childhood is, which is a level of growth in which divine friendship can occur between the individuals and their Creator.

Wisdom will forever be observing the balance occurring in experience, particularly at a physical level, in order that this absolute value can be extracted and made use of in every situation. So that wisdom is not so much engaged in easing the burden of life, as it is engaged in the harvesting of the fruits of the burdens of life. Wisdom develops an ability to see that the harvest in life is not at the level of ease, happiness, bliss and joy, but exists in a level of beingness in our nature which is at a very deep level of strength and integrity and selfhood which, while it is being autonomous and highly individual, is also becoming aware of its unity and loving relationship with all other forms of selfhood.

So we are saying that the deep wisdom which exists in the Creator's nature, and which we can learn to understand, is a deep wisdom which values not only the individual who is a friend to each other individual, but values the depth of character and strength and integrity, the leathery, craggy, strong, warrior-like toughness and individual responsiveness that each individual can develop in their own right. And wisdom recognises that individuality which doesn't have strength and doesn't have deep experience, is less valuable.

Although all the divine qualities of heaven are something we must have an experience of, and a taste of, wisdom recognises that, if these qualities are not understood arid lived at this outermost physical level of the universe, they are not fully appreciated in terms of their opposites, and therefore do not produce the deep understanding, the objective valuation, and the deep strength which can support them and which is needed in any true individual.

Wisdom recognises that there are three things that we need to achieve. First of all our unique separate beingness, then the objective understanding of values, which produces the ability to understand the real quality and value of all things, and then the strength and integrity which is necessary to support the being and the understanding; and it is on earth that these experiences have been made available for us, to a degree which they may not be available for us in any other form of experience. That is why there is a wisdom that is able to grow from the earth which is so valuable.

Friday 20 April 2018

Reality from The Great Gift


This deep attitude which carries a concern for everything is not a superior attitude, but of course, from the lower level of reality, or a lower level of understanding, one uses the word 'God-like' in a derogatory manner because one is implying that it is a stupid and impossible attitude for a human being to take up. What you are, and I am, and many other people are, discovering is that it isn’t as stupid as we at first thought it to be.

Most of these impossible qualities and realities that people have talked about when they are trying to describe our spiritual reality, most of these impossible things, eventually, are discovered to be possible, but it does take a long time, sometimes, to adjust to them and to find out for oneself how they become possible.

I am often with people in my being because I delight in being with them. I really feel for them and with them, and it is their soul that I sense and am with. I continually feel the difference between their soul level responses and their outer personality level responses, when these come as two different things from the same person; that means, before the person has reached a reasonable amount of integration between those two levels.

It is quite often painful to me to be in the soul level at one minute, and suddenly being thrown into the personality level the next minute, but it’s one of the hazards that I am prepared to put up with, because I enjoy fishing for, and hunting for, the soul in people and bringing it into communication with my soul, whatever that word means – deepest level of being, most valuable valuer that I know about myself.

Now, when it comes to understanding what reality means, we have to observe together that you live in an area of awareness which is a valuing awareness; that is its chief activity. It is an activity which is learning how to increase and define its ability to value; it’s learning how to build a structure of values, which it carries around with it. That is your reality; you are essentially an observer and a valuer.

Now, out of your observations and valuations come responses and communications, but they only come if you’ve already observed and valued, so you are most essentially an observer and a valuer, and secondarily then a responder and communicator. You actually live in that valuing existence. Even if you were suddenly translated into heaven, your reality would be your continual awareness and valuing of heaven.

The essential nature of your being, and the most real thing about you, is your ability to value qualities. So, reality, so far as you and I can understand it, is most essentially a world of values. The word 'world' is quite inept; there isn’t a word which is suitable: it’s an existence of values; it’s an existence in values.

Your reality is made up entirely of values, but they have two distinct orders, and the lower order of values is built around a secondary valuing process which has become detached from the primary one. The secondary one is concerned with the personality keeping its end up and acquiring for itself the needs which come from its perception of itself in that way, and if one looks carefully into that perception, we find that it is a mistaken perception. But this mistake happens because the world conditions us to become susceptible to it.

In other words, the world conditions us to identify with this more outward level of our communication mechanism, instead of the most essential levels of those communicating mechanisms. Now the world does that to us, and gradually, because it does that, we build up an outpost which becomes the personality self – becomes an ego in its own right if you like – and it develops a valuing system around itself which is quite different to the essential valuing system of the essential valuer, which is in a more interior level, a more subtle level of your awareness. So you have to live in your universe of values, and l have to live in my universe of values.

Within your universe of values you have to discover and find for yourself this more essential and more valuable level, and to learn to separate it out from the less essential and less valuable level, which is your outer personality self fulfilling its needs. The inner, spiritual, essential self is working to fulfil its higher needs, but often it is being prevented from doing that by the activity of the outer personality self, which is grabbing all the attention in order to fulfil its own level of needs. Maslow spoke very clearly about this situation, so if you’ve had the chance to read Maslow’s books you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Now that is your reality; you can’t get out of that, unless perhaps it’s possible to destroy your own ego. I think what some Eastern religions, some forms of Buddhism, do is to take away the separate stance of the ego, which is one of the gifts which the Creator has given to us, and it unifies its own reality with the greater reality, not in the form of becoming a friend of that reality, but in terms of neutralising its own ability to be separate.

This attitude combines its attention and energies with the attention and energies of the bigger system of creation, which we could call the system of the Supreme Being, and, in this way, it seems to destroy its own separate existence and become a part of the Creator’s existence, but I don’t believe this is what the Creator wishes of us, or wishes for us, and if you believe in a system rather than a Creator, I don’t believe it’s the best way of making use of the system.

In the deeply religious sense, I believe that the Creator stands outside the system, and we can have an understanding of his Being in that way. We can make friends with him in that way if our own reality remains a strong and separate reality while we are becoming aware of the nature of that Being we call Creator.

I think it’s also possible to become a part of the energies which are the most ethereal level of creation, and this would be a sensation of continuing bliss, if you like. One would then bask in the rays of the Creator’s creative intention, just like a physical person would enjoy standing under a warm shower, and one could lose one’s reality in that way, in the enjoyment of standing under that warm shower and enjoying its warmth and its activity, and letting go of every other form of reality, every other form of responsibility, every other form of identification.

In that way, one returns to the womb of one’s being, but I don’t think one has actualised or accomplished the purpose of the potentiality which has been given to our being. But on a smaller scale, we have to deal with the overcoming of the outpost of the substitute personality ego if we want to become established in our proper essential higher reality; which is to say, our own essential divine being.

In order to achieve the awareness and the ability to be with our true self, to be according to our true self, to respond with the nature of our true self, we have to learn to eliminate the activity of the outer self, which has taken over the activity of living from our bigger, whole self. But this is a difficult thing to do, and everyone who is trying to do it will tell you the same thing – that it is a difficult thing to do.

How long it will take is not in anybody’s ability to say, because everybody does it in a different way, and takes a different time to do it. But we have to be careful that in the overcoming of the ego sense, of the outer self, we don’t deal with it in a way which is simply destructive, rather than integrative. We want to integrate the experience of the outer self and gradually make that outer self a proper continuation of our inner essential self. We don’t want to destroy that outer self, we want to make it a part of an integrated whole self. We want to be able to use it and live with it as a proper part of our whole being. We don’t want simply to destroy it. That means to say that we have to alter its nature and its attitude in such a way that it remains fully alive and active, but it alters its patterns of responses and refers them continually to its essential real nature and doesn’t handle them itself, in its own right, thus cutting life off from the essential self.

Now the sort of reality we run into in our every day activity feels to be a quite different reality to the one I have been talking about. It’s a reality we get into when we have been driving our car to work for ten minutes and become thoroughly irritated by the whole process. We are then in a mood of the outer self. We are in irritation, our reality seems to be the stupidity and the irritatingness of other people. Now this is the sort of reality which a lot of people refer to when that word is used, and it is real for them so long as they are identified with it.

I can’t make you choose which reality you identify with, and I can’t make you choose which reality you believe in, but, as I understand it, you must eventually come to separate out the world which you experience from the place that you experience the world from. And you must learn to notice the difference between the reality which is the observer in you, and the reality which is the artificial outer self in you (but still observes in its own right), and the reality which comes to you as a process of experience brought about by identification with the activity which is going on in the outer physical world around you, such as the irritatingness of other people, meeting deadlines, doing your work, fulfilling your obligations.

These are three different levels of reality. The outer ones are the outer world of events; they are a form of reality. The secondary ones are the secondary responses of the secondary personality-self, supplying its own needs and looking for ways of supplying those needs continually, and this is often what we refer to as the selfish self, the self-seeking self. It’s more concerned about its own self than other people’s selves. Then there is the most essential higher self, which values properly (values the most valuable concepts and qualities that we know of) which exists, and learns to know that it exists, in a reality which is completely concerned with valuing and a higher form of beauty, and a higher form of purpose, which is concerned as much with the fulfilling of its fellow beings as with its own being.

Those are the three levels of reality which we are living in. This outermost reality of events is changed very much, and seems to become a totally different form of reality, when the higher self lives in it. When that occurs, then you get a sensation that the outer world of events has suddenly altered. When the ordinary secondary self lives in the outer world of events it creates one type of physical world for you to live in, but, when the most interior, higher self lives in that outer world of events, it is as though that outer world is suddenly transformed, and carries a set of values and meaning which is completely different to the one you are normally used to living in.

So, there again, that adds another complexity to the problem of your reality, and this living of the higher self through the outer world also applies to the secondary self. The outer self can be lived in fully and properly by the inner self, and that transforms the outer self too. So that makes a total of five worlds of reality for you to live in. That means two forms of outer reality, lived in by self one or self two, two forms of the outer ego self to live in, which is conditioned by whether it is living in it in its own right for its own ego, or being lived in by the higher self for the right of the higher self (with the needs and the purposes of the higher self being lived out in that outer personality). So that’s two forms of outer worldly events to experience; two forms of outer personality self and sense of ego to experience. And fifthly, the experience of being in the 'beingness' of the true essential divine self, or spiritual self, in such a way that you are being it in its own reality, quite separately from the reality of the outer personality self, or the outer world of physical events.

So there are five forms of reality that you probably have experienced already, but you would find, as we all find, that it is very difficult to separate out clearly one form of reality from another, and we may eventually discover that, even in this higher level essential self, there is more than one form of living in that self, which is very subtle.

We could say that, even in that spiritual reality, there is a reality of the spiritual nature living in the created universe as a part of that created universe, as though the created universe was a whole in its own right, like a plant is a whole in its own right, working out its own biological function. And then a higher form of being, in that higher being again, is recognised in that the essential element of that higher form of beingness is in the 'absolute', outside this biological function of creation, of the created universes.

Here we belong to an order of reality which is the same order that the Creator Himself belongs to, but the difference between those things is very subtle, and we need not concern ourselves with them until we wish to, but they have resulted in two different forms of religious activity, and two different forms of spiritual activity which I’ve noticed in people. The one is becoming part of the whole, and is only concerned with becoming part of the whole, and the other is becoming its own individual divine reality in its own right. It is concerned with its relationships with other individual realities and is concerned very much, very deeply, with its relationship with the Creator’s reality.

This may gradually become a concern with the friendship which exists between ourselves, in this higher sense, and the Creator’s self; our divine friendships with one another and our divine Creator, who becomes our very great friend. In this way you also have two forms of reality to choose.

The Creator is not going to push His friendship on you, and is not going to force you into a friendship with your other fellow beings. This is something you have to take up and value as a possibility, but not as a 'must'. You can return to the oneness of the Creator’s emanations, if you like, without discovering the value of your own separate reality, or the Creator’s separate reality, or the wonderful possibilities that exist between those realities and the realities of your brothers and sisters. This you have to discover for yourself, and to take up yourself, and to choose to take up for yourself. The Creator cannot thrust it on you any more than we know we can create friendships at will. They have to happen, and they have to happen from both sides of those friendships.

So, for me, when I use the word 'reality' in its biggest sense, it is usually signifying the process that is going on in accord with the Creator’s longing to bring about the existence of our own separate individual realities, and helping those realities to grow in understanding and strength in their own right. It is a continuation of the Creator’s reality which He has chosen to expand in such a form that individuals can arise from His nature, and become established in their own right and appreciate the treasures which the Creator’s nature has stored up for them. They can also take part in creative living and creative friendship in such a way that they can come to a form of living which can enlarge the Creator’s own understanding, and bring in the possibility of harvesting further values and greater treasures in the future. That’s the significance of reality which I generally refer to.

Then there is a form of reality which is beyond our comprehension, and that is the reality which belongs to the comprehension of the Creator. That must be the reality which the Creator Himself exists in, or has come from, and that is not in our ability to understand until the Creator wishes to show His understanding of it to us. That would be a totally 'beyond' form of understanding of reality, because it is the reality from which our reality has arisen, and the reality from which the Creator’s reality has arisen. That we don’t know about. I feel our common sense says we should not know about that, until we know virtually all there is to know about the other reality, which we have talked about and which is more available for us.

So the difference between all these forms of reality, which we have drawn attention to, are very great indeed. It’s like looking down at your own fingernail and comparing the size of that with the size of the physical world we live in, the size of the solar system that the physical world lives in, the size of the galaxy which the solar system lives in, and also that system of galaxies which is the cosmos, then realising that that is only the physical cosmos and not the ethereal cosmos, or the spiritual cosmos. There is a vastness in the reality and the forms of reality which are available for us to perceive and to understand and relate to, which is on that scale, but the Creator has given us an ability to cope with that scale of reality and understanding, even if it takes us quite a while to exercise that ability of our nature.

REF: Abraham Maslow – Towards A Psychology of Being, Van Nostrand, 1968.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Divine Purpose from The Great Gift

Divine Purpose

There are a number of matters which I would like to define which are matters that seem to cause a deep stirring in the heart of our being and which require some response from us. I will quickly go by the opinions of those people who do not see the need for a purposeful creative consciousness behind the manifestation of this universe. Such understanding must come to us as a simple observation beyond doubt, or it does not come at all.

We realise that there are people who are able to conceive of this manifest universe as an outgrowth from some haphazard life which is fumbling its way by accidents from one thing to another. I cannot sustain such a theory since I am aware that the organisation of matter has to reach an extremely high degree indeed before life can even begin a fumbling of any sort. Our time and attention is too valuable to remain in, what are for me, such unproductive fields. We must observe all things, but not limit them to the tangible and the 'scientific', particularly when we realise that our own consciousness is neither tangible nor 'scientific'.

My observations lead me to a purposeful God, a living responsive creative source, whose motives we may begin to discover in the way of our own nature and environment are formulated. Many of these qualities have become so clear to me that I would like to bring them to your notice in a direct manner. To you, my propositions may well be faulty and insubstantial, but I will endeavour to place them before you in an order which seems to me to have some relevance.

Let me start with a simple thing. You will have noticed that those people among us whom we sense to have gone furthest in the development and expression of their nature have shown clearly that they attach greater importance to qualitative matters than quantitative ones. (By this I mean that they can be seen to be concerned to do one thing really well rather than many things less well. They are people who for instance, would rather write one good book than several indifferent ones, who would choose one deeply valuable friendship rather than many semi-friendships.)

They are also concerned to be strong, but not powerful, concerned to add value to life and other people, never to take it away. They try to fulfil themselves in such a manner that they also fulfil others. They appear to gain as much satisfaction from the quality of experience they can afford to others as they gain for themselves. They seem to share their life with others while at the same time drawing out the possibilities of those others. In a word they endeavour to make all things freshly 'new' and thus non-repetitive.

If we call this manifest universe creation, then these people want to be creative within it. They would appear to be the ones who achieve real friendship and who also add creatively to the life about them. They see the value in their creative living in terms of adding to the significance of life, but not in any form of cleverness which may well detract from the significance of life. So they do not seek to be important, yet they have a clear-cut hierarchy of values which would enable them to recognise the best things in people and the best people among things.

Such individuals, if they do influence people profoundly, take care not to do it through any form of power which over-rides the individual wishes of those people, for, more than any others, they value the uniqueness and autonomy of individuals. Every individual is valued as another unique polarity of life with whom an endless variety of expressions is possible. The loss of any individuality is an absolute loss to all living potential, and the diminishment of any individual (in respect of the deepest level of that person’s being) the greatest of tragedies.

Now I have been making this point because what I want to observe are principles which I feel can take us a long way into the understanding of the creative impulse. If we, out of our experience, follow human nature up to its highest expression we get well into the nature we expect belongs to that of the spring of creation. If we then combine with this the situation of the family group, we already have a good motive and a good method of achieving that motive.

The workings of the family group can be observed closely by us, and can be seen to be an excellent way of developing the potentiality of an individual in such a way that the child takes on the reality of its separate existence in a gradual way, and then is encouraged to stand alone.

In the proper family relationship the child is instinctively aware that the ties of childhood must be broken and then, ideally, replaced with an entirely voluntary friendship. I say ideally because it is quite rare for the full cycle of the family to be fulfilled, for this requires a number of mature attitudes which do not often arise. The parents have to be wise, and the child has to be wise, and so too few children succeed in becoming real friends with their parents, certainly in the deep sense of their true being.

I observe that the friendship of true being can arise in our world, but I also notice that so few people are able to demonstrate the characteristics of true being, that it does not arise very often. I must then say that the true friendship of true being is a rare phenomenon and we have much to learn about the nature of this relationship. What we observe most often is the nature of secondary friendship, the character of which is different to the character of primary or true friendship.

Whereas secondary friendship is a situation in which the persona or secondary self alone participates, primary friendship can only be entertained by the primary self and does not exist in the values of the unspiritualised secondary self. When primary friendship is demonstrated we are able to say that the primary self is also demonstrated, and thus also the nature of the creative source and the motive of that source.

To put it in simple language, we shall obtain an illuminating insight into the nature and purpose of God if we look at the full nature of true friendship and the nature of the family as it should, but often does not, fulfil its natural function. If we see in a clearer fashion the nature of God, we shall also see ourselves and one another with fuller significance if we accept that we ourselves are the outcome of this God’s endeavour. We must practise an intuitive perception of God to know ourselves and an intuitive perception of ourselves to know God.

There is a vicious circle here which feels to me like a limit set upon our ability to understand true nature by our inability to enter into the full relationship of true friendship. We habitually mistake secondary friendship for the real thing, and we do not look upon this true friendship as a great art and a great achievement.

True friendship so forgets its self-interest in the absorbing experience of full communication with another, that it derives a great gladness in witnessing the fulfilment of the friend and the full expression of that individual. Similarly the individual in question is so absorbed in giving life and form to the values and concepts that mean most to his nature that he becomes equally forgetful of his self-interests. Thus we achieve a situation in which neither individuals are concerned to conform to any image they have of themselves, and, for a space, they live as though they did not know who they were. They are so concerned to 'be' themselves that they no longer need to monitor their self-image to feel safe. This freedom enables them to become aware of a much larger nature in themselves than is otherwise possible.

This attitude requires courage, confidence and faith in life, which is most difficult and is a part of the limiting circle which must be broken. If one true friend says to the other by his attitude, "From whoever I am, I am deeply glad about you, whoever you are," he gives to the other inner space, freedom and confidence which enables him to go beyond his previous knowledge. In going beyond his previous more limited self, this other gives back to his friend a demonstration of values which enable that friend to witness the quality of true being, and thus the quality of the potentiality within his own being. This at the same time reveals the motive of God who wished creation to have taken this particular form.

My own experience tells me that the nature of this God must have in it a bigness of heart and of mind which is greater and more poetically beautiful than that yet demonstrated by any man or woman. And my experience of people who have bigness of heart and mind is that they do not have, as so many of us do, deficiency needs which absorb much of their time and attention. Having overcome the deficiency needs of their personalities, they give all their attention to observing and 'being with' those people who confront them. They are quite naturally at pains to recognise the real individual in each person they meet, and in this way they draw out the real values in that person for they no longer have any interest in the secondary values which we play with in our games of ego-importances and ego-greeds.

If big natured people express the nature of our Creator then the fundamental 'desire' which must have been at the heart of God’s character and at the heart of that longing which is the inspiration and motive for manifestation, is to share creative friendship with other real individuals. Within this highest form of being are the divine qualities of love and affection, strength and integrity.

If my approach has seemed reasonable, we have now got a motive and a concept of God and of man which can satisfy many of the reasons for the world being the way it is. We can begin to understand God’s motives for designing creation as it is when we accept that a longing to bring into being other conscious individuals to exist creatively with, in highest friendship, was the greatest desire in His heart.

The bringing into existence of this physical world with all its mixed values, pains and joys seems, in the light of such a motive, the only way it could be achieved. If, for instance, this world had been kept in a pristine condition then there would have been no room for the fulfilment of the individuality and understanding necessary for true and creative friendship. For pristine environments are unspoiled by any quality opposed to those of perfection, and if we had been born and kept in an environment of perfection we should not have any means of discovering the meaning of any of the qualities of that perfection. We would have been 'imprisoned' in beauty, love, harmony, joy and all bliss, and we would then have had no chance of knowing about the opposites of these qualities from which to gain an understanding of their significance.

Since our life would have been one of perfect harmony and ease, and the nearness of the character of God’s nature so close to our observation, then we would have felt no reason or urge to express a character or individuality of our own. Such character as we might have, would have to be imposed upon us as a ready made thing.

In our experience of the world, the way it is, we find that our nature and expression suffers opposition at every turn. We find that we not only have to discover each of our possible characteristics one by one, but we find that we have to strengthen them one by one. We need not mistake this for a quantitative ambition since we come to recognise that a large number of acquired characteristics is the proper and only way of reaching a larger aspect of overall individual character. And we recognise that strength is not the same as power, but is the ability to maintain good values in the face of resistance. Without this ability we do not possess those values, for they do not truly belong to us until we have become unable to lose them. This strength is not acquired in order to dominate others, but in order to live out our true self for the sake of others.

As we learn to care more about this higher friendship we realise that it becomes concerned about what it can offer to others. The value of any friendship must also be a measure of the depth of character and understanding that each one brings to it. It can be said that only a small or thin friendship can be experienced with another whose character has not been developed or worked upon. In contrast, it is with people who have had much experience and had much character development that we can expect to have the most enjoyable and fruitful relationship.

So if we learn to care about one another, in ways which make us wonder how we can best be a friend to one another, we realise that we must concern ourselves with gathering as much character as possible. This will mean living in an environment which is not too easy, and setting ourselves tasks which are in line with our highest valuations, and consequently the most demanding and difficult ones to realise. It is then discovered that there is a fundamental change in our attitude towards growth; we discover that we do not want it to come to an end. We discover that our idea of perfection has changed also, for the perfect creative friend is a very different sort of person from the perfect being who lives only in a pristine condition, without pain or effort.

It can now be seen that the image of ourselves as well as of God is taking on a radically different look. For we can picture ourselves as being engaged in a process of experience which is preparing us for friendship and companionship, rather than a process in which we are simply trying to survive by turning ourselves into the image of someone else, even the perfect someone which God is. And this God is looking upon us with a longing for our potential friendship and companionship, not with an eye to eliminate our unique character, but to enhance it. In fact the weight of the character we take home with us at the end of the day will be taken by our God as a measure of our affection and appreciation of Him.

This gives us a view of God and of His initial love for us which to me is very much more beautiful and attractive than the one I get from the idea of a tricky God who gives us an obstacle course to struggle through before absorbing us back into his nature again in a condition of eternal bliss. Such an obstacle course must always seem like punishment for a crime we do not feel ourselves to have committed.

Now this idea, that we have been given our 'being' to make something of, leaves us with the realisation that initiative has got to come from us much of the time. Not only have we to take a full part in the development of our individual character, but we then have to choose those people with whom we wish to share it, and this has to include our Creator as well as our fellow men and women.

If the price of our ultimate eternal being depended on whether or not we choose God as our friend, then that friendship would have a very dubious basis, and it would seem to me to be a very wrong use of friendship. But if that same God arranged things in such a way that we could choose Him or not, as we wished, then to me this would be a most important factor in the whole structure of creation, and it would signify to me that all that is good, in my understanding of values, was being upheld.

Thus I see it as imperative that our God allows us to decide and to choose how we grow towards His personal being, and He must offer some other way, which is less personal and less friendship-based, than the one we have been looking at. Since each of us has, as a part of our nature and understanding, a quite impersonal area which is also full of interest, beauty and delight, I see no reason why we should not choose to develop this side of our nature; and develop it to a stage where it can be harmonised and integrated with a similar impersonal set of characteristics which I feel is a part of the Creator’s being also.

In this way we can propose that there is a full spectrum of the Creator’s nature offered to us, ranging from the most personal to the most impersonal, and each of us will find ourselves relating to different combinations of these two extremes. I am sure we have all come across religious understanding which expresses both of these ways of development. For instance, we know of the Buddhist who tries to eradicate all sense of individual existence from his understanding and who then blends 'his' nature with the one life; who has to identify himself with 'the Absolute'.

Then there is the follower of Jesus who describes to us a most personal and intimate way into the relationship we have with our God, so that we may become the child of this God if we wish. And, if we value the endeavour, we can grow past the stage of child with this God. But this further growth is not forced upon us, and we may return to this Creator as a child and enter our home again as a child, if we so choose.

What must be true, is that we discover we love many of the qualities of 'true being' if we are to become a part of the eternal life to which it belongs. It would be foolish to think that we can take any quality back with us to eternity, for qualities which are foreign to its nature must be rejected, and us along with them. Eternal life must be at pains to maintain its proper condition for all our sakes, but within this condition there will surely be a vast area in which our individual characters will be able to express and develop themselves.

We know that many people have reached an inner experience of profound oneness, completion and bliss which makes all the foregoing statements of no account. To me this is quite possible; they have become one with the nature of the Creator’s beneficent emanations, and the impulse to know the person of the Creator behind them has not been felt. This seems entirely proper to me, for I cannot imagine the nature of this Creator demanding that we love Him personally as a friend, before we become a part of eternal life. Such an attitude would be foreign to the meaning of love and affection, as well as to the concept of creative friendship, which I feel are the deepest motives in existence.

My feeling is that we must discover the nature of the Creator’s person to be so loveable that we try to read the heart of His being in order that we may delight and fulfil its longing. This is what real friends forever do for one another. It leads them into an ever growing and open-minded situation which seeks to be always new in its expression, endeavouring to surpass the quality and value which has already been reached.

How can a Creator be content with a static, satisfied condition? He must surely have an on-going attitude that will always seek to surpass itself, even if we do not see it or wish to become a part of it. For us, whose spirits are so often weary with the difficulties of the world the release from anxiety and frustration which comes to us if we enter any sphere of relative bliss, must seem to be enough. There must be few who would look back over their shoulder and observe that an element in their nature had not been properly read and understood, and thereupon give up such bliss to return again to the resistances of the outer fields of experience.

There are many people who have experienced this blissful aspect of their nature, so it is not out of place to ask why the Creator, or if they prefer it, the One Life, did not arrange for them to be born directly into this blissful state, if reaching it was the sole purpose of creation. Why should there be any physical manifestation, with all the accompanying effort, if blissful nature was only concerned to become blissful nature again, and paid no heed to individual characteristics to further its intrinsic purpose?

Such a reality would not support the demonstration and experience of values which we, as men and women, continually stumble upon. There is no room in such an enclosed system for the individual courage, integrity and affection which we know exists. Or if these qualities exist in our experience, they become in this reality only a dream and a game, and their significance is insubstantial. I should not choose to take part in such a game willingly, and the bliss of such a reality has for me already taken on a quality which devalues itself, as well as what I have unwittingly mistaken to be myself. And, furthermore, if it is thought that this blissful oneness is in fact furthering its purposes through the artificial manifestation of our human nature, it would still behove us to return to this world of experience rather than to remain in the completed state that blissful consciousness represents.

Such a system could be imagined to be collecting experience of itself through the experience of many different centres of being which each of us represents. These centres of being thus, not having a reality of their own, but being a series of differently placed windows for the collective consciousness to look out from. If we become aware of the trick, we then proceed to correct the sense of separate identity and re-become a part of the whole again. Thus, in becoming God, we cease to fulfil the purpose of this God, which is to continue to know itself more completely through 'windows'.

I feel sure that the picture we have just drawn is one which many people hold when they take up the pursuit of the spiritual path; and at the same time feel that the idea of a real God, to whom we can relate, is an immature and childish attempt to sustain the reality of our wishful thinking. They would say that an idea of a personal God is 'anthropomorphic' and, in our present climate of thought, this is expected to be automatically a damning criticism. The answer I would like to give to this is simply to state that the anthropomorphic condition can be taken the other way. That is, it can be taken as a supreme compliment on the part of the Creator who has endowed us with an image which conforms to His own image because He has such high hopes of us.

In a cynical age this simple and most beautiful attitude is the hardest of all to uphold. In a materialistic climate the human image is mistaken for the purely physical attributes of our personality; the higher and less tangible abilities of moral fervour, integrity and loving affection are overlooked, and the personal God very easily assumes the qualities of despiritualised humanity.

To imagine a God in the image of degenerate man is one thing, but to imagine man to be capable of living and upholding all the most valuable qualities of God’s nature is quite another. This gift to us of ourselves, as something which can sustain comparison with that of the Divine nature is exactly the gift which I believe our Creator is endeavouring to bring about. The gift is of such a nature that it cannot be handed to us on a plate ready made. It is a most subtle and difficult thing to give, and it can only be given if we can enter into the spirit of the process and consciously and creatively take it upon ourselves.

The gift is of such a nature that it contains a great burden within it, namely the burden of objective understanding and the integrity which such understanding requires of us. The weight of this burden is also an exact measure of the absolute value we carry in terms of the creatively understood friendship which we can offer one another and our God.

To know and to accept the gift which we are being offered is to know the nature of complete responsibility. For we cannot relate to each other, in the context of true creative friendship, until we carry the sense of responsibility for all qualities and thus the sense of responsibility for all people. We cannot relate to each other in complete friendship until we consciously carry the attitude which is at the heart of the nature of the Creator Himself. If this sort of affection is given the name of Divine Love then I am happy about that term, but I would loathe to settle for something less.

I do not want to give the impression that I am arguing against endeavouring to experience oneness with God. Very deep spiritual love and friendship must achieve a 'oneness of being' which is impossible to less spiritual orders of consciousness. I am trying to look carefully into the nature of this Divine oneness in order to understand more clearly the wonders that it holds, and to make the loveliness of its nature and its purpose more apparent by discovering the beauty of its motivation.

Whether we come to this oneness in a more personal or impersonal way, I would like to emphasise that our response to it is of the utmost value and that we can remain 'us', and It can remain 'It' if 'we' wish to make it so; or we can submerge our identity and cease to 'stand on our own feet', if that is what we choose.

I feel I am trying to point out, very specifically, that our God is a fully beneficent, loving, giving God who does not play tricks with us, and who is offering layer after layer of possibilities within the nature of His and our being. The measure of the gifts being offered to us is only limited by our ability to see them, understand them and receive them. The more we can accept, the more fulfilled is the longing of our Creator’s heart. But who are we, and how much are we confused in our spir

itual endeavour by the ambiguity of our sense of identity? If we have not achieved the integration of the separate interests and attitudes of our nature, we find we have many sub-personalities whose identity we become confused with. It is not possible to feel much value in the foregoing arguments if the strongly valuable aspects of our nature are diluted by lack of certainty. Conversely, deep and strong feelings of certainty often come to us gratuitously, and these have the ability to further the integration of our attitudes and enhance the sense of 'a centre of self' which carries our most valuable understandings and intentions.

The spiritual path for many of us is essentially a way of intensifying the values and attitudes of our nature and learning to recognise, through this intensity, the unified self who is present to all of them, and who understands all of them. This self who is common to our best responses and aspirations, and who wishes to leave nothing of value out of its world, is our real self.

Since we have a physical, emotional and mental nature, and since each of these natures has a masculine and feminine aspect, we should expect to find that we have many sub-personalities. When these are integrated, we have a true personality which is an expression of, and a vehicle for, the true self. This is the self that can feel and know and enter into the divine life and choose to relate and respond to our Creator as 'Friend' or as 'God'.

It seems to me that, in either case, the blissful nature of our encounter is one of great 'gladness'. This is a special sort of gladness that is love, and yet an on-going love which takes it into a creative condition, and which results in what I have already described as the highest form of friendship. Here the nature of creation is continued in an open-ended, ever widening potentiality for which the polarity of 'me' and 'thou' is absolutely necessary. If either polarity, or individual Being, 'gives up', then the creative tension or vortex between the two vanishes, and the possibilities for endless living experience vanish with it.

I am afraid that I have to use the term 'personal' in trying to describe this Divine relationship and this may cause a confusion of understanding. The higher meaning of the term 'personal' refers to the nature of the individual Divine Being that is the reality of the Creator as well as our own reality. The Creator, it is suggested, has given us all a 'chip off the old block' or a 'spark of His Divine Flame' to be the basis of our separate individual identity. Between this chip, or spark, and God, who is the giver, can grow a divine friendship. This comes through a response to what I have called the personal end of the spectrum of possible Personal and Impersonal options. We will all respond to a different mixture of these two extremes.

In talking about God as a person, it is not necessary to picture Him/Her as having head, arms, legs and trunk, and sitting on a celestial cloud. If we picture God as a beneficent point of ambient light, we may still feel the personal response of this centre as being a real, sensitive, affectionate awareness, which can take on any form and be anywhere as He may wish. But God can communicate the nature of His love and the many sides of His beneficent nature, by taking a form which acts as a language. A beautiful face that is smiling at us with loving eyes will probably carry more meaning for us than a bright light and atmosphere of love. So while this is true, God may well choose to use a form to make Himself known to us. When such a form becomes a hindrance to communication, then no doubt it will cease to be used. If we do not wish to know God in that form, then it is likely that He will never confront us in that form.

It is not possible, then, for us to know the real nature of friendship until we act from the nature of our real Self. Secondary selves can only know the quality of secondary friendship which is largely a situation in which the one is supplying the deficiency needs of the other. When the supply stops so does the friendship; dislike and resentment take its place, and thus prove that it was not real in the first place.

The love of real friendship can never diminish. It makes no demands and can never suffer resentment. But it is sensitive, so it must be able to be hurt, but I would think that this was confined to the formative stage, after which the divine resonance between the individuals would be so complete that even hurt would become less possible.

When we know we are being our real Self, we may notice that at that very instant we are aware how much of that Self is unfamiliar to us. As we may expect that God’s nature is like a mansion with many rooms in it, so is our own nature. We are mansions within the mansion of God and learning to understand and appreciate the content of our rooms and His/Her rooms. The thing that we notice and enjoy about the rooms of God we duplicate in the building of our own mansion. It is possible that we may make some little thing of our own which God also duplicates for the furnishing of His mansion. I like to think that there is a keenness on the part of God to delight in so doing.