Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Can Good Deeds and Right Thoughts get you to Heaven?

Short answer no, not on their own.

Whether we are talking about the Christian heaven or Buddhist enlightenment or any other serious spiritual tradition most agree that, when it comes to the post-mortem state or destination, what you are matters more than what you think or what you have done in your earthly life.  At the same time, what you think or do should be an expression of what you are, and an absence of good deeds implies that what you are is not what it should be. A fruit tree without fruit is not much use (though, of course, you need a healthy tree to get good fruit).

So, putting this in traditional terms, can we say it is both faith and works that get you to heaven? Not really. Faith and works are certainly a big step in the right direction but good works are purely an external thing. Whatever their nature they are actions and actions relate to this world and outer behaviour. They may come from a good place but in themselves they don’t necessarily have to do so. 

That’s fairly obvious. What is perhaps not so obvious is that faith also is, or certainly can be, an external thing. If your faith goes no deeper than your mind as in your thoughts you cannot say it is part of the fabric of your being. Besides, faith in what? God? What God?  In human terms there are many and they are not all the same as regards their spiritual reality. Jesus? Even the Biblical Jesus has been reinterpreted and reconfigured to suit multiple agendas. He is often seen according to the person seeing him and through the lens of that person’s own mind. Even if, inevitably, few of us see him as he truly is we should still get as close to that as possible, and not distort what we see through our own mental prejudices, preferences, opinions and conditioning.

What I am saying here is that if you want to get to heaven, the real heaven and not some celestial ante-chamber, God or Jesus must be known in the heart not the head. Only thus will you know the real (as opposed to imagined) God or Jesus and start to become like the real God or Jesus which is the prerequisite for entrance to the Kingdom of God. No mere humans allowed! You must have begun the transformation into a heavenly being here, in this world, and that takes place in the heart from where it will spread out to the rest of one’s being like fire on a piece of paper. But the spark that sets off this transformation is in the heart not the mind.

What all this comes down to is that you will only get to heaven if you love God because it is this that effects the change in consciousness which takes you from a horizontal awareness of reality to a vertical one in which all horizontal reality, our normal experience, is rooted and from which it derives. Loving God is being aware of causes and putting them first. Good deeds and right thoughts belong to the world of effects. They are external to what you are and so, while necessary, are not in themselves sufficient.

Not faith, not works, not beliefs, not actions. Only love of God, and the true God who is known in the spiritual heart not an idol of your own making, will get you to heaven. But this love must be, to borrow a phrase from Buddhism, right love and that means it is not an emotion or even a feeling, both of which are transitory things centred on yourself. So what we normally call love is not the thing at all. Nor should it be confused with compassion or empathy which are, as it were, love's reflection in the waters of our emotional nature. Rather this spiritual love is a sensed state of being and knowledge which engenders deep humility and gratitude and, most of all, the desire to live by God's laws. 

In the spiritual world love is inseparable from law, as law is from love,  and really knowing this truth is the key that will eventually unlock the door to heaven.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Personal insights about Albion Awakening in a prolonged peak experience

Yesterday I enjoyed a family walk through the early summer woods in the North Tyne Valley - and managed to maintain myself in a Peak Experience state for an unusually long period (about half an hour) during which I was able to consider some important matters. I made some notes shortly afterwards:

One thing that was crystal clear was that there is a way-out, a way to overcome the current situation [of evil triumphant in the world]. This for sure - and it was something simple which could really happen.  

I don't know what it is - but knew that [specific details] would/ will be clear in the relevant context [i.e. when needed] - so long as I (we) think in the real-true-divine way. 

It is also clear that this way was not by perceptible politics, or organisation, or rhetoric - but something operating at a higher level, invisible to senses. Asif, an act of thinking could put it to rights. A single act. 

When I get insights during a peak experience, I assume that these are in some sense true and certain; and PE-insights trump the kind of insights I might get when in a lower state of consciousness.

(Peak Experiences are glimpses of reality - and 'everyday consciousness is a liar' - as Colin Wilson used to say.)

So I am going to regard the above as a certainty - or, at least, that is my aim.

It is not very precise, at present; but it describes what I should do, and what I should not do - and that is enough.


(Cross posted from: http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/knowing-what-to-do-not-to-do-during.html )

Friday, 23 June 2017

Eastern versus Western religion: this mortal life as primarily evil or good

As a true simplification, but a simplification nonetheless; I would regard Christianity as unique in regarding this mortal life as 'a good thing' - in the sense of good for each of us ultimately and in a context of eternity...

Whereas all other major religions, and especially those of The East (Hinduism and Buddhism) regard this mortal life as essentially 'a bad thing': for instance an illusion or otherwise unreal, a punishment, a torment merely... something it would be better to do without (and which, if we must endure it, is a thing which we can only aspire to get-through as painlessly as possible, with the least adverse consequences.

The main objection to this summary is that many (far too many!) Christians also regard this mortal life negatively. However, I would have to regard this either an error or a distortion of the Christian 'message' - made all the more common by the intellectual influences which have impinged-upon Christianity from its early days - influences from already-established Greek or Roman Philosophy and religions; from Judaism and Islam; from interaction with Eastern religions etc.

But among the most devout and solid of simple Christians - rather than the theorists of Christianity - I think it can be seen that the general view is that this mortal life is ultimately for our benefit - that is (could we but know the details, which is of course not practically possible) for the benefit of each and every one of us considered as individuals and in a unique perspective - but, of course, in many ways flawed and twisted.

In sum - the Christian position is that it is basically good to be incarnated and born in a human body, and to live, and to die, and to be resurrected - in the same way as Jesus Christ was.

(Thiis is the core difference that Christ makes, hence what makes a Christian.) 

By contrast, many (or all) other religions regard one or all of these four things as bad: they regard spirit life as superior to incarnation; not-to-be-born as better than being born; mortal human life as essentially bad (even if alleviated by moments of happiness and goodness); death as an evil - better to be avoided; or resurrection into a discrete body as sub-optimal compared with being unbounded and universal.

In its essence Christianity is unique - and unique because of Christ as model and enabler. We really need to grasp this - with full but simple intuitive apprehension - if we are to be in a position to decide whether or not we regard it as truth. We need to know what it is we believe; or do not believe.


 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What Do We Mean By Meaning?

One of the many complaints about the modern world is that fundamentally it lacks meaning, and, of course, this is perfectly true as regards its materialism. A materialistic world is without meaning except what we artificially give it. But in itself and without our projection of meaning onto it, it has no meaning whatsoever. This is the cause of the widespread alienation of the present day and of our endless pursuit of such ultimate banalities as wealth, personal success and the constant distraction of entertainment and ceaseless stuffing of our brains with fairly useless information. All the while we need topping up and stimulating, and this is because our lives have no real meaning. Even those who find fulfilment in their work (and those who do are fortunate nowadays) will eventually reach the point when that is no longer enough and they will wonder if that is all there is. Without meaning our lives are, well, meaningless. 

But there can be no true meaning in a materialistic world in which nothing has any real purpose or permanence. Nothing is even real. I'm not real, You're not real, not really real. We're just temporary assemblages of atoms, molecules and electric impulses or whatever whose only significance is to pass on our meaninglessness. Is it any wonder that when we peel away the illusions we comfort ourselves with we feel so empty?

If something has meaning that is to say it signifies something beyond itself. It is not just what it appears to be but there is more to it. It is the repository or focus or vehicle of something greater than itself. It opens up to a deeper level of being and we mustn't be afraid to say that this is also a higher, indeed a spiritual, level. That is to say, it is a doorway to a greater reality and it calls to something inside us which we intuitively recognise is our true and real self.

Human beings need meaning because if they don't have it they have to invent it or inside they gradually wither away. People look for it all over the place, in art, politics, sex, drugs, science and so on and so on, but it seems clear that the only place it can really be found is in spirituality. Spirituality is meaning. Without spirituality there is no meaning and you might as well be dead.

But I would go further. I would say that real meaning can only be found in a personal Creator who loves us. Even forms of spirituality that promise liberation or enlightenment are ultimately unsatisfactory. That is because they don’t accept the integrity of the person, thinking this to be the last impediment to a true realization of the nature of being. Consequently, whether they acknowledge this or not, they deny the value of relationship. But I think meaning is to be found in the full understanding that you are a real person and that others are real people and we are all sons and daughters of a real Parent.

We have arrived at our destination. Meaning is love.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Albion Not-awakening

I call for an awakening in England, because people are asleep. Just look around: look at the eyes.

People sleep through life, which means they never actually think from themselves (but instead only 'process', automatically, passively - massive inputs of external stimuli).

The great demonic discovery of the 1960s was that modern people could be controlled (into damnation) by keeping them always asleep. Half the time they are asleep in a totalitarian regulated bureaucracy; and the other half in an instinctual world of primary process 'Id' fantasies (and nightmares).

And they do not want to wake-up, because of what they will find. What they will find is too overwhelming to contemplate without religion, and religion is The One Thing that modern people are Sure they do not want.

But even if they had or have, religion - it is not enough; because modern religion is rotten with the same corruption that affects everything else.

The only answer is to awakening to a religion in which we each have direct and personal engagement with the divine creative mind and process - how else could we survive as individuals in a world of near-total corruption?

Fortunately, exactly this is there for the asking - everything they most need... Unfortunately, everybody is asleep, and if they begin to stir from slumber they are aggressive in their attempt to resume unconsciousness.

What they want is only more sleep, deeper sleep, and better dreams (preferably never to wake up, preferably a blissful slide into extinction - to be on the safe side).

Unless they awaken, nothing positive can be done - because anything positive done must be with consent and indeed active agreement and effort. They cannot awaken unless they want to wake. They show no signs of wanting to wake.

Well - Because God loves us, people will get what they want - but what they want, won't be what they expect. This is not a threat - simply that God cannot override Man's agency (even if he wanted to, which he does not).

What we insist upon, in our freedom, will be; but it will be what we really insist upon - and not merely what we unreflectively and dishonestly 'say to ourselves'.


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Christ and India

While I definitely think of myself as a Christian, albeit of a slightly unconventional nature, I have long been attracted to Indian spirituality and India itself as a sort of spiritual homeland. The word love is hardly too strong to describe my feelings towards this country though I am not blind to its many shortcomings. I do believe that India represents something special for the whole of humanity. Spirituality is known and followed there like nowhere else even if, perhaps inevitably, it is abused there like nowhere else too.

But if that is the case why is India so unresponsive to Christianity? This is certainly true because although there are many Christians in India they represent a very small proportion of the population and I seriously doubt that proportion will increase much beyond its present state.

I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, India's own spirituality is so ancient and so profound that it feels it has no need for any other. In this it may well be correct. The paths of love and knowledge are both fully known there. Hindus have great respect for Christ and his teachings and see him as a real 'mahatma' or enlightened soul but not as the Son of God who was the template and pattern and archetype for all enlightened souls, and without whom there could be no enlightened souls or however you wish to describe the state of union with God. So they do accept Christ spiritually but not theologically.

This leads to the second reason. Maybe India already has its own Christ. Not the full revelation of Christ which took place in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago and which was as described in the Christian religion, a unique event which transformed the whole world and opened the gates of heaven to all humanity, but something like a partial revelation which took place several hundred years earlier. This was the incarnation of Krishna.

I am not fully comparing the two. I said this was a partial revelation. It was not the Incarnation. It did not have the same universal purpose and effect of ransoming us from sin and death. But on a smaller, more local level it was something similar. Krishna was a God of love. He brought love to Indian religion and initiated the whole bhakti movement. I'm not saying these things weren't there before but they weren't there in anything like the same way or to the same extent. Krishna activated something that was latent but undeveloped. He lit the fuse that led to love of God, and the Bhagavad Gita, the book of his teachings to his disciple Arjuna, is like the New Testament of India with the Vedas, of course, as the Old Testament.

So India does have its own Christ of a sort, a Christ who speaks to it in its own language. Christianity will always be foreign to India. It will always be the religion of outsiders and maybe, as a religion, it was only ever intended for the West. But it is possible that a prefiguration of Christ came to India (whether as the overshadowing of a disciple or as a direct spiritual influence of another kind, I don't know) and taught India the way to God in terms that were appropriate for that country. Even the names are similar!

I'm not really a fan of Theosophy even though I think it brought a lot to a Western world that was losing its religion. It introduced many concepts that revived a flagging sense of the spiritual and opened up a deeper exploration of truth for many people struggling with 19th century materialism. But it did rather materialise spirituality itself and it always lacked a genuine mystical heart not to mention a proper appreciation of God. But one thing I read in a Theosophical book years ago struck me as an interesting insight. This was that Ramanuja had been an incarnation of Jesus.

Ramanuja was an 11th century theologian and philosopher from South India who is best known today for teaching a qualified non-dualism which he formulated in response to the strict non-dualism of Sankara. Without going into too much detail Ramanuja sought to preserve the distinction of Creator and created which Sankara's non-dualistic interpretation of the Upanishads effectively abolished. In short he taught a theistic religion which accorded creation a full and proper reality in contradistinction to Sankara's teachings which allowed creation a provisional reality only which was ultimately denied when metaphysical ignorance was removed and all differences were seen as illusionary including the fundamental difference between the soul and God. So the goal was not to reach a spiritual union with God but to see that there was never any difference between the soul and God. They are not two. This, of course, denies love though modern followers of this path try to squeeze that in anyway using elaborate intellectual gymnastics. But if the personal God is on a lower level of reality than the impersonal absolute then love is part of the world of unreality as opposed to being fundamental to existence.

Sankara was clearly an intellectual (even though he is supposed to have written devotional poems) but Ramanuja, though obviously highly intelligent and a profound philosopher, was primarily a lover of God. Now, (and here's the point of all this) I don't believe that Jesus really did incarnate as Ramanuja but I do think that he might have been the inspiration behind him and that Ramanuja may have been a disciple of Jesus', born in India to correct the metaphysical errors of Sankara and help establish or re-establish a bhakti approach to religion, and underline the idea that the true way to God is through love rather than knowledge, even though knowledge is important too. But it must be knowledge grounded in and motivated by love.

So I see Jesus as present in India through Krishna and Ramanuja, both of whom had a significant impact on Hindu religion, especially the bhakti or devotional approach.

But why have I put this piece on Albion Awakening? What's it got to do with the theme of this blog? Not that much admittedly. But one might see a connection between England and India which was perhaps born during the time of the Raj and endures to this day. English, of course, is still an official language in India and the country continues to be run on vaguely British lines. But that's just externals. If the conjectures in this article have any substance to them (a very long shot you might say), they tie up strangely with the idea that Jesus came to Britain as a young man. Britain and India would be the only two countries other than the Holy Land* to have an association with him, and there may be a deeper meaning to that than we can at present understand. Could India and Albion together one day have something to teach the world?

File this post under speculation!


*Just for fun I should add that Bethlehem is almost exactly midway between Cornwall (which Jesus is supposed to have visited) in England and Mathura (Krishna's birthplace) in India, about 2,500 miles from each.



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A Deeper Reality


Tintagel Castle

*

I have been reading a short essay by the Eurasianist thinker, Laurent James. The piece is in French and can be read at his site www.parousia-parousia.blogspot.co.uk.

James uses the results of the first round of voting in the recent French Presidential election as a springboard for a meditation on two competing visions of his country - what he calls 'Gaul' and 'France'. Gaul for him represents an imaginative, intuitive, spiritually-attuned worldview inherited from the Celts, while France stands for a quantitative, rationalistic understanding of the nation's role, beginning with the Frankish kings and continuing up to the newly elected President.

A similar dynamic is at work in Britain too, I feel. On the one hand an ambience of restless activity, financial and emotional insecurity, and growing social and cultural fragmentation; and on the other the 'still centre' of the great cathedrals, the rugged coastline, the lakes and mountains, and the ramparts, hill-forts and 'tors' of pre-Christian antiquity. William Blake called this second aspect 'Albion', and it is his evocation of the primordial spiritual essence of this land that animates both his poetry and his painting and accounts, I believe, for his enduring popularity.

This is the eternal Britain, the true Britain. It has always been here and always will be. Sometimes it is visible, other times not. It is occluded at the moment but will emerge again into the light of day, like the Hidden Imam in Shia Islam, at the appointed time. The current dispensation, in my view, is not as solid as it seems. The contemporary West lacks any kind of religious or philosophical underpinning and therefore, despite all its technological achievements, cannot continue indefinitely. Its fall is assured.

What will replace it then? All kinds of doom-laden scenarios inevitably spiring to mind, but I would like to think that the present order, which ignores reality and pretends it isn't there, will cede place to a general awareness and waking up to the things that are fundamentally real and true. This doesn't necessarily need to be articulated in a political programme or a set of beliefs. Truth and reality lie at a deeper, more instinctual level. Type 'Tintagel' into YouTube, for example, and look at some of the clips of the castle and its surroundings. Feel the elemental rawness of it all - the sea, the sky, the stones, the silence, the sun, the wind. As William Wildblood recounts in his book, Meeting the Masters:

'When, on a trip to Cornwall with my family, we visited the rocky promontory of Tintagel, I had my first exposure to one of the sites of the Western Mysteries. Naturally I knew nothing of that tradition then nor was I aware that some places truly are places of power but my lack of knowledge did not stop me being deeply affected by the castle and, more especially, its setting. The sea, the stones, the wind and mist all combined to thrust me back into an archaic past when the veil between the spiritual and material worlds dissolved much more readily than it does now.'

This is the baseline spiritual orientation our society has lost - a deeper reality existing beyond and before words and concepts and emanating from the heart - our own hearts and the heart of the land. We have slipped our moorings and turned our backs on the deepest part of ourselves and our country. We have forgotten who we are, individually and collectively, losing sight of God in His most basic, primal form. We are left with a spiritual vacuum and this, I feel, is the underlying metaphysical reason for why we are being attacked at the moment.

Reconnection with this sacred core - on both the personal and national levels - is the first and most necessary step towards a religious renaissance in the UK. The specifically Christian elements of this revival will make themselves clear in time. For now, the most important thing is simply to recognise the hand of God at work in both the topography and history of our 'sceptred isle', so that we are at least facing the right way again.

We shouldn't fuss and fret, therefore, about how this reorientation might play out in the political realm. Laurent James, in his piece, has critical words to say about both Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. A vote for Le Pen, he suggests, is a vote for the aggressive French state that attempted to crush the Gaulish spirit, while a vote for Macron would endorse the Western globalism which is strangling the French nation in its turn and doing to France (and every other country) what France did to Gaul. It is a false choice, in other words, and the hour of the Great Battle and the true, spiritual nationalists - the sons and daughters of William Blake - is not yet at hand. 

We are the lantern bearers, and we should refuse to be drawn. Our vocation is to sit lightly to the revolving door of Presidents and Prime Ministers, take the world's bluster with a pinch of salt and not be intimidated by the darkness thickening around us. Ultimately, it has no reality. Our role is to watch, wait, pray, and tune ourselves in to the Truth, passing on the torch, when and where we can, in thought, word and deed, so that when the great horn sounds and the gold and silver standard of Christ in Glory is unfurled, we may be in every sense ready, prepared and 'on point.'

As the little Welsh priest in Rosemary Sutcliff's Dawn Wind declares on hearing of the Saxon advance:

'Brothers, the Light goes out and the Dark flows in. It is for us to keep some Lamp burning until the time that we can give it back to light the world once more; the Lamp, not of our Faith alone, but of all those beauties of the spirit that are kindled from our Faith, the Lamps of the love of wisdom in men's hearts and the freedom of men's minds, of all that we mean when we claim we are civilised men and women and not barbarians.'


William Blake, Joseph of Arimathea Preaching to the Britons