Gnostic themes in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Interview with Lance Owens (Part 1) – Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio

Bible-or-LOTR

Miguel Conner (AKA: Abraxas, I Am, Aeon Byte)

When thinking of JRR Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings mythos, Gnosticism or the Esoterica might not immediately come to anyone’s higher or lower mind.

But here at the Virtual Alexandria we always reveal there is a reality behind the reality. This interview presents the Gnosis of Tolkien and its stunning relation to Carl Jung, transcribed from a past episode with Lance Owens—ordained priest of the Ecclesia Gnostica, as well as the creator and editor of The Gnosis Archive website.

For more of Lance’s insightful writings and lectures, please go here. And thank you to Mandy for an outstanding task of transcribing the interview.

But enough of my drivel, as I like to say, and onto the first part of the interview with Lance (and you will find the audio version at end of this article). Jung and Tolkien and Gnostics…oh my!

 

MC: Thank you very much for joining Aeon Byte. Although most people would not make a connection between Jung and Tolkien—besides there being plenty of Jungian analysts of Tolkien— there seems to be many parallels to both giants of our times. You certainly point out a few in your excellent lectures at Gnosis.org. Perhaps the first one, or the main one—as you mention—is the similar experiences they both had before World War I. What were they, Lance?

LO: It’s a big question because, it’s a question about the nature of human imagination. It becomes apparent that Tolkien had a deep experience of the imaginal realm. We think of the imagination as something safely locked inside the cranium, and what we imagine is a mirror refiguring of images that have come to us through  sensory perception…with everything locked in that cranium has sort of come into it through our physical relationship to incarnation, shall we say.

The individuals who have a different perception, they encounter the imaginal as something independent—as a second reality that is independent of their experience. In other words, what comes to them through the imagination can include things that have not been part of their sensory perception. That are not locked within their cranium. It’s like the vision is a doorway. There’s a doorway, and one can look out into the world, and one can also look in that doorway and find as great an infinite reality. It’s a very strange concept. If one simply is locked in a flatlands world view where there’s only one reality, and it’s all material. This makes no sense. There are individuals who’ve had this experience of an inner reality. An imaginative reality. Tolkien most definitely was one, and Jung most definitely was one.

I think probably at this point in our culture, there are very few people who have not heard the name of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Of the most published books in history, I think Lord of the Rings is up there near the top right now. Something like two hundred and fifty million copies in print, and then The Hobbit follows shortly thereafter.

So people are aware of Tolkien’s literary production. They’re aware of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; but hardly any of that reading public is aware of what preceded those books. That this man had a 20 year engagement with an imaginal realm, and produced boxes upon boxes upon boxes of manuscript. Thousands of pages of manuscripts documenting his encounter with the imaginal. He saw the imaginal as a given thing. As a reality, as an independent truth. He did not feel that he was inventing anything. He repeats this again and again in his letters, in his private conversations, that his experience of the imaginal was an experience of a reality—a truth.

The stories that he was telling were not invented by him, they were translations of his experience of the imaginal. It’s a strange concept, but that is the depth that people perceive when the read The Lord of the Rings. There’s something deeper there.

When did this start for Tolkien? Well, it started around the time of the beginning of the first Great War. The World War I as we call it. Around the time 1914, Tolkien began having a sense of a deeper reality that was bidding him to explore it. He began having words coming to him. He called them “ghost words.” He would hear Elven words. Words in a language that he had not ever heard before. That no human had heard before. The words would come not just with sounds, but they would come with meaning. He began keeping records of these Elven words, trying to explore that vocabulary. The words didn’t just come. With the words there came stories. The Elven languages came complete with a mythology.

He had started probing at it before he himself entered the battle of World War I over a period between about 1914 and 1916. At that point the man is around twenty-one to twenty-four years old, and he doesn’t really know exactly what is going on [Laughter] other than it seems peculiar, and no one else seems to understand it. He thinks he perhaps is a poet, and some of his initial faerie mythology and some initial vision is written in poetic form. Then in 1916, Tolkien goes to the Battle of the Somme which was perhaps the most horrendous sacrifice of World War I. A half million men died in six months at the Battle of the Somme. Twenty thousand British soldiers died on the first day of battle—first day of July in 1916 alone. Amongst the men who died at the Somme were two of Tolkien’s three best friends. He was there for the entire battle. He was a signal officer working on the front lines trying to maintain communication with the rear, and he witnessed this sacrifice.

He came home from battle. In late October he became ill with a malady then known as trench fever. They didn’t know what caused it. The men came down with cyclical, recurrent fevers. Now we understand it was probably conveyed by the lice that infested the soldiers in the trenches. He came home with high fevers, and sick in November of 1916 to England. During that period in hospital, this imaginal realm really opened up. Certainly when he came home, there were times when he was actually suffering from high fevers. He may have even had some hallucinatory events, dream events during that period. That was not it alone. The fevers were not persistent, but he did spend several months off and on in hospital. Then many, many more months in convalescence where he didn’t have much to do. During that period he entered into an imaginal relationship, shall we say, with the Elven realm. He began hearing these incredible stories.

Once again, Tolkien’s sense was not that he was inventing them, but that he was actually hearing them. With them came the Elven tongues. When he got home in November of 1916—in 1916 to 1917 through 1918—he produced a series of stories. A series of imaginal investigations, shall we say, that are really the foundation of everything that followed. He encountered this realm as a given thing, to use his own words. He began recording these stories. He had no idea exactly where it was going. He didn’t understand if it was a literary work, if it was a poetic work, if it was anything that would ever be published. In fact, at the time this was entirely a private matter. He kept these things in notebooks.

The interesting thing, the question you asked to start is, well, how does this relate to Jung? The same thing happened to Jung at almost the same time. In 1913 Jung was a doctor of thirty-seven years of age, and had had a long period of relationship to Sigmund Freud. Had broken off that relationship, and he had understood that in the psyche, there was much more than simply the repressed material of our potty training, and our parental relationships that had gone wrong in youth. That this realm opened out into an infinity, and you realize that he had to meet it. He had to enter into it.

On the 12th of November of 1913, sat at his desk and petitioned his soul. “My soul, my soul, where are you?” is how he wrote his beginning. He sat for a month probing after some communication back from this imaginal realm. From his soul. He entered into what he called the mythopoetic imagination. The imaginative realm from which myth came, and he was looking for his myth. He was not trying to invent it, he was trying to discover it. Over a period of weeks he sat, and slowly words started forming. He started hearing phrases, and word forms.

By December of 1913, things absolutely broke open. He began having visions, full visions. He would sit, and he would actually see things, and he recorded them. Recorded these stories—these story fragments. This was the beginning of Jung’s Red Book. Originally these things were written in diaries known as The Black Books. Over the next—about ten years—he filled six Black Book journals with these events. From these he distilled a manuscript which then he transcribed into his Red Book. 

In 1913—this was before the war had erupted—he was having visions of the coming of a war. Amongst the visionary material he was having, there were many references to a great sacrifice that was about to come.

In England, Tolkien was in a very similar situation. He had gone to the Cornish coast in 1914. While there, he had a vision of one—Eärendil, he called him. It came as a poetic fragment. This word Eärendil—it had come to him from Middle English, and it had some intent. It seemed that this word had existed outside of history. That there was a story connected with it, and began trying to tell that story of Eärendil—one who had sailed into the Heavens with a gem of light. Then after the war broke out, and after Tolkien’s experience in the war, he came home and this imaginative realm opened up for him as well.

You have Jung in Zürich having these visions. This entry into the imaginal, into the mythopoetic imagination. Developing stories, feeling that there is an infinite reality there to be discovered. A given that must be discovered. Jung says that we perceive the outer reality as infinite, but that there’s a reality within just as infinite, and just as interesting, and just as important. That we are incomplete. We are only half until we encounter that lost, and forgotten other within us. That other half waiting to join into consciousness.

This experience of Jung is happening around the time of the Great War. He has images of sacrifices happening around Switzerland, and Tolkien is right there in the middle of the sacrifice. He sees it, he moves through it, he comes home, and he starts his own visionary experience.

If one doesn’t accept the fact that people can have visionary experiences, this is all balderdash. What the hell is going on here? [Laughter] It’s hard to get across to people. I remember how I was at a cocktail party talking to somebody about this. I think I mentioned this at one of the lectures. I was talking about the fact that Tolkien was having these auditory hallucinations— Elven words. He was hearing Elven languages. He was hearing from the Elves their stories, and he was writing them down. The lady said to me, “What you mean here is that Tolkien was crazy. Is that what you’re saying? Tolkien believed in Elves?” My response to that was: “Well no, Tolkien didn’t believe in Elves, Tolkien knew Elves.” He knew Elves by hundreds of names. He knew their history, he knew their stories, he knew their sorrows, and their joys. He knew the beauty of their art. He was discovering Elves, he was getting to know them.

The same thing goes with Jung. People say, “Well what was going on with him? He was having these visual hallucinations; was this a psychotic break? Was he mad? Was this an illness?” My answer to that is no, it wasn’t. The man continued to function in every normal fashion during this event, during the writing of what became The Red Book. He continued to see patients, on average five a day during these years 1914 through 1919 or so when he was having the visions. When he was writing the visionary material down. He was on active duty as an officer in the Swiss Army during this period for extended—in total of over half year on active duty—and was able to maintain his family function. Rather complex family function, should we add, at this time as well.

Tolkien was able to function in England when he was having these visions, when he was writing things down, when he was telling the stories. Some of the time he was definitely in hospital from the time he was sick and weakened by his illness, but he was able to function in every fashion outwardly.

This was an inner exploration which was not an impairment of rational function. In fact, it is a turning of rational function, a turning of rational attention—instead of outwardly to the activities of the world—inwardly to the activities of the imagination. So both of these guys were going through this intense experience at about the same time. Historically, there is a certain synchronicity there.

Even more interesting, I think many people have visions of sorts, or imaginations, or hear stories, and it’s interesting. Maybe they write it down, and then they go on with their lives. The difference here is that, what happened to Jung between these visionary experiences—I say “visionary” but I could also use the word “imaginal” or I could use the word “mythopoetic”— “myth creating.” These visions that had become the foundation of a life of work. Jung saw this visionary material that came to him between 1914 and 1920 as the precious stone that he did work for the rest of his life.

He spent the next 45 years trying to explain to the world, to people, to patients, the reality of the soul. The reality of the psyche. The reality of an inner world which was just as infinite as the outer. Which was not a result of it. Which was not simply the residue of it, but was an independent reality. In fact, it may come before—this imaginal realm—might come before outward perception. Then, he went and spent 45 years, the rest of his life, as an interpreter to people of this experience, of this reality. From it came his ideas of a collective unconscious. People once upon a time would say, “Well Jung got his theories of the collective unconscious from listening to the dreams of his patients, and correlating experiences, or from perhaps his own dreams.” Well, truth of the matter is, he got the concept by the experience of actually having gone into the imaginal realm and encountered these figures.

Tolkien, in parallel, had this imaginative experience begin in 1914 or thereabouts. Then break open in magnitude around November of 1916 after returning from the battle of the Somme, and over the next two to three years. He spent the next 40 years of his life further investigating, exploring, and developing this experience of the imaginal.

Both men struggled throughout their entire lives trying to explain what they had encountered, what they had seen, what they had experienced to others. Both struggled, shall we say, with limited success in that effort.

MC: Moving on, Lance, don’t you mention in your lecture briefly that the cosmology of Tolkien’s universe is very similar to a specific Gnostic myth? Which one is that?

LO: That becomes both an interesting, and a complex question. First of all you say, “Tolkien had a cosmology.” What was his cosmology? Where did that come from? People have read The Lord of the Rings and it’s like—is there a cosmology in The Lord of the Rings? [Laughter] Or in The Hobbit—is there a cosmology, is there cosmological vision? You start talking about things like that to people who know something about Tolkien, who have read some of his works and it’s like—what the hell is that about?

The point is: the writings that Tolkien produced are unknown. The things he wrote around the time of the First World War—his initial Silmarillion shall we say—these initial stories are not well known. There are a great number of things that Tolkien wrote that are yet unpublished but, material related to his visions, to his Elven stories…

MC: His own Red Book basically.

LO: Yeah, his own Red Book, and that’s exactly what he called it, you know?

MC: Really?

LO: That’s exactly what he called it.

MC: Oh my God!

LO: Yes, his Red Book. He worked for 20 years before The Lord of the Rings was engaged in: 1937-1938. He’d worked for 20 years creating this material. The Silmarillion was not a little book. There was a little book called The Silmarillion published a few years after Tolkien’s death—edited by his son Christopher—but this was just a very brief condensation of his mythology. As a matter of fact, Tolkien’s Silmarillion filled probably two or three file cabinets. The publisher, after Tolkien’s death, he had eight feet of stacked boxes that included his manuscripts of what was The Silmarillion.

Christopher Tolkien, his son, after J.R.R.’s death, had the task of trying to bring this stuff to publication. He initially published a very slim volume called The Silmarillion, which was a recension of some of the primary myths that Tolkien had told. The first of these is called The Ainulindalë. When you get into Tolkien text, this becomes a little bit complicated because many of the texts have Elven names. That’s how he heard them. Ainulindalë means, the music of the Gods.

Tolkien went through this initial series of visions. There were maybe three or four crucial myths that came to him—crucial stories. Stories that related to the origin of human consciousness, and to the origin of Elven consciousness. The origin of the Elves, and the relation of Elves and Men. The relation of these to the powers, to the emanations, to the Gods. There’s one called The Story of Gondolin, and there’s…well, I won’t go through all those three or four myths.

In 1919, after these initial three or four myths had come to him, he received a cosmogonic myth—as he calls it. A story of creation. A story that starts before the world, and tells the story of world creation. That’s relatively unusual, and these are the sorts of things that are the foundations of religions actually. Cosmogonic myths—how Gods form worlds, how God powers interact with human powers—are, for the most part, foundational stories of religions. Tolkien received just such a cosmogonic myth in The Ainulindalë. He sees in this story that he writes— the original text is about, probably ten pages. There is a good recension of it in the little book, The Silmarillion published. I think it was 1977.

In The Ainulindalë, he tells the story of a first force called Ilúvatar, who emanates several God forms called the Ainur. The Ainur come forth from his consciousness. His emanations of consciousness. Each one is a limited form of that consciousness. Each one is a piece of that consciousness, very much like some of the old Gnostic myths where you have the emanational structure of creation.

One of these emanations—whose name is Melkor—is an emanation of discord. Melkor adds—into the music of creation from which the cosmos flows forward—a tone, a song, a theme of discord. Creation itself comes forward from the force, and the song, and the music of the Gods singing. The cosmos is formed thereof. Melkor goes into the darkness. There is a void, in this initial creation myth, there is a void where the light of the Ilúvatar has not shined. There was a place behind the back, shall we say, of Ilúvatar. The first source. A place where his light, his vision has not gone.

Now think about that. It’s a duality. Here we have the first forming god, Ilúvatar, bringing forth emanations but, in that first force, in that first motive, in that first thought—that forethought—

there is a realm of unseen. A realm of unconscious, or a realm of unperceived. Melkor goes into that darkness, and goes probing for things. It is from that darkness that the discord is brought into the creation. Melkor becomes a force of that discord.

The story proceeds after the formation of the world. After the formation has taken place, the Ainur—the emanations of the first god—enter into creation. They actually come down into the world, and become what men would call gods. There’s not one, there are many and they all have their different elements. There’s Manwë, who is really the God of the Winds, the intelligence. He has a syzygy, a female companion, Varda, who is the Queen of Stars, the creator of the first lights. Readers of Lord of the Rings will remember her as Elbereth Gilthoniel, Star Queen, or Star Creator. To whom Sam prays when they meet Shelob in the caves of Cirith Ungol. There is a force of the water, Ulmo, who’s really a prophetic voice. There’s Aulë, who is a creator, a manipulator of matters.

These various emanations come into the world, and they have relationships with the children of the Ilúvatar. There are two types of children of Ilúvatar in the world. There’s the Human, and then there are the Elves. The whole drama has been set up before Elves or Humans awaken.

Now you asked, “What myth is this like?” I’d say, first of all, it’s a lot like most Gnostic creation mythologies in that it is emanational. That there is a first source. That first source emanates into a variety of powers—forces of different types—often referred to as children. That these enter into the direct relationship of creation. That they are demiurges—this is exactly the word that Tolkien uses. He refers to the Ainur as demiurges, demiurgic forces, forming forces. In this creation, a darkness enters in. A darkness of chaos. A darkness that would control the world, and order it to its own power, who is Melkor—this dark, chaotic force.

I’d say this myth has its most interesting focus of conjunction with the Manichean myth. In Mani’s myth, there is a realm of light. The realm of light is invaded by a dark force, by a force from outside of the light which hungers after the light. That is really the beginning of the whole cosmogonic story. The Manichean myth has a period of, before the mixing of the elements, during the mixing of the light and the dark, and a period that will happen after. We live in a period of the mixing. That’s cosmos. The entire Manichean myth sets a stage of what happened before cosmogenesis. Cosmogenesis itself is an effort to rescue the light from the mixing.

In the Manichean myth, the realm of light is invaded by a darkness. Into the darkness are thrown—sort of as a sacrifice, or as a battle plan—five of the sons of the God force. That’s the beginning of the mixing. These five children of light enter in through a mix in the darkness, are essentially consumed by the darkness, and thereby enter into the creation.

One sees some of this in Tolkien’s image. There’s no exact parallel. The point is, is that there is a mythopoetic imagination which is working with just these sorts of themes, which is really quite extraordinary.

MC: It’s very extraordinary. Beyond that, and beyond the evidence you showed us of how Tolkien entered into the world of archetypes, which I guess he called the Faerie world, and Jung took a similar journey, his world view seems to be eerily Gnostic. You do quote him in your lectures saying that he said, “We are free captives, undermining shadowy bars.” and that, “We’re trapped in a great artefact.”

LO: Yeah. One can look at Tolkien’s cosmogonic myth as a literary creation, but one must understand that Tolkien was drawing conclusions. Tolkien was discovering something in the imaginal and was then drawing conclusions from it about the nature of life, of human reality, about how we humans stand at this particular point in time. He came to see that indeed, we are imprisoned.

That particular story, that poem that you just quote, was written to C.S. Lewis in 1931. 1931 would be 12 years after the Ainulindalë has come—the music of the Gods, the creation myth—has come to Tolkien. He’s trying to indicate to C.S. Lewis, who at that time is relatively agnostic. He believes there may be a God, but he can’t see how the myth of Christ has anything to do with anything. Tolkien writes this long poem called Mythopoeia—the source of myth. He writes it from Philomythus to Misomythus: the lover of myth to the hater of myth. Himself being a lover of myth, Tolkien  being a hater. He goes through this very long, probably about 8 pages long poem, and double spaced. He gives exactly that sense, trying to explain creation he says:

 

[Yet] trees are not ‘trees’ until so named [and seen]

and never were so named, till those had been

whose speech’s involuted breath unfurled,

faint echo and dim picture of the world.  

He goes on to say that:

 

 

But neither record nor photograph,

being divination, judgment, and a laugh,

response of those that felt astir within

by deep monition movement that were kin

to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars.

 

Then comes this description of who these people were. This image of the human consciousness says, “we are free captives, undermining shadowy bars” – “ free captives, undermining shadowy bars”—  isn’t that the key image of the exile in Gnostic mythology?

MC: Oh yeah…

LO: He says, “Digging the foreknown from experience, and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.” “Digging the foreknown from experience.” Well, what sort of experience is that? It’s the foreknown, that thing, that epinoia. That first knowledge is being dug from experience. What sort of experience? Imaginal experience. Experience of the inner realm.

Then he goes on, “Digging the foreknown from experience, and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.” Here we have this sensory perception of the outer world, but there is also a spirit. We pan that vein of gold, of spirit out of sense.

Then he goes on speaking of the evolution of human consciousness. He says, “Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,”—speaking of mankind.

 

Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,

and looking backward they beheld the Elves.

that wrought on cunning forges in the mind,

and light and dark on secret looms entwined.

 

He sees no stars who does not see them first,

of [living] silver made, that sudden burst

of flame like flowers beneath the ancient song,

whose very echo after-music long

has since pursued. There is no firmament,

only a void, unless a jeweled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb, whence all have birth.

 

LO: So, the Heaven is just a void unless we see it as that jeweled, myth-woven tent. The inner reality of our imagination which gives meaning to that void of stars. We project out into that realm, our stories, the stories we tell, that myth-woven tent within which we reside.

So, he’s dealing with this mythology. He’s dealing with this sense of exile throughout his mythology. That sense of the Gnostic exile is very much present in all of Tolkien’s work.

via Gnostic themes in Tolkien\’s Lord of the Rings: Interview with Lance Owens (Part 1) – Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio.

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Saṃsāra and Nirvana – the Ultimate Duality

Samsara

I loved this article and happily I just received permission from Ethan Indigo Smith to republish it here . (He mentioned to add that he is giving away books, visit his amazon author page for more info at the link at bottom. I dedicate this to my beautiful granddaughter who’s name is Samara. :)

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

The more I learn about Buddhism, the more I appreciate the many teachings of Buddha and the subsequent learned people who followed him, and the more I hear people speaking on such lessons – whether they realize it or not.

Truth resonates like that. To find resonating truth in the time of the Kali Yuga – the Fourth Age of Deception – I try to find correlation of information among many subjects, and Buddhism both reveals truth and also correlates with truths from other cultures and also others systems; those of science, psychology and the esoteric.

I will attempt to summarize one of the most profound teachings of Buddhism that can require an immense amount of absorption (another term for meditation or contemplation) to integrate – that there is Saṃsāra and Nirvana. Understanding this duality can lead to a greater understanding, being the ultimate contrast of Buddhism.

First though, here are some teachings as a base to this idea.

Saṃsāra and Nirvana

Saṃsāra literally means “continuous movement” and is commonly translated as “cyclic existence” or “cycle of existence”. In Buddhism, Saṃsāra refers to the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that is created by our fixating on the self and experiences, specifically, the process of cycling through rebirth after rebirth within the six realms of existence. In the Buddhist view, one can only be liberated from Saṃsāra through Nirvana.

Nirvana literally means “extinguishing”, and refers to the extinction of the fires of attachment, aversion and ignorance. In the Buddhist view, when these fires are extinguished, suffering comes to an end and one is released from the cycle of rebirth.

Buddhists perceive reality and its volatile predictability through a set of conditions or principles, known as the Four Thoughts. One, we have a precious human body capable of gaining enlightenment and assisting others in the process. Two, everything is impermanent; ourselves and the condition of the natural and man-made world, if you will. Three, everything is made up of Karma; you are the result of it and everything that’s been done results in karma bouncing around. Four, we exist in the state of Saṃsāra, this gross physical realm where we can be either animals chasing tails or carrots tied to string – or we can become elevated beings.

An optimal response to these conditions is contained in The Four Immeasurables. These are Love for self, Love for others, Love for the happiness of others, and Love for all in equanimity. The conditions of Saṃsāra require that we take compassionate courses of action via the Four Immeasurables – the four forms of love – otherwise we enhance our suffering and the suffering of others. Buddhists, having addressed reality thoroughly, realize that in every meeting there is parting, in every spring there is fall, and in every birth there is death.

Saṃsāra is the happiness and hell on earth, the everything. Its opposite is Nirvana. Samsara is everything in reality. Nirvana is nothingness; the bliss that just IS, the essence beyond birth and death and even beyond duality. It is oneness.

Here in Saṃsāra, practically everything is polarized and more specifically in a dualistic state of polarity, a state where there is spring, there is fall and for every winter there is summer. Saṃsāra is a war world, a place of ego and power, of total contradiction. We fight in the name of peace, poison our bodies with toxic “medicines” and unnatural foods, and view our religious faiths as a point of separation, not of Oneness. And so Saṃsāra will remain a war world until the Majority of Love takes control from the oligarchical institutions that rule over us globally. Until then, humanity will continue on the treadmill of birth and death, while it struggles to reconcile the duality of its own existence.

Boys meditating

There are lessons and concepts in this Buddhist teachings that can be applied spiritually and intangibly, in a multitude of ways. But Buddhism can all be seen as an allegory for how we approach our daily life and reality.  We all have the ability to manifest Saṃsāra or Nirvana, here and now. We can act on behalf of lifeless institutions, ignoring the Four Thoughts and Four Immeasurables, or we can proceed in peaceful compassionate unison with each other – and remove the roadblocks of failed institutions along the way.

Each of us, in equanimity, is just a wandering sentient being – and most of us are extremely compassionate at heart. In fact there is mounting evidence that humankind is evolving (from necessity) to become more compassionate. We have the technology and resources to provide for the energy, food and water needs of every human being on the planet, but dismayed, we stand back and watch our institutions direct our resources toward war and corporate empire-building.

Something is not right here.

Why is it that we collectively fashion billions of dollars and thousands of people together for war instead of building equal infrastructure to help one another? Why are we allowing the others to dictate priorities to us which are so unaligned to our true nature?

Because the majority of us are living in a state of warring consciousness; we were born into it; we exude that consciousness and manifest it outwardly via what are now long-standing war machines — those military, nuclear and industrial institutions and legislative devices that are either built to kill, or are slowly killing us anyway. But the Powers That Be forget the important lessons of history… the inquisitors and oppressors never win the battle, and no empire lasts forever. 

Choose peace over war, choose individuals over institutions, choose compassionate helping instead of passionate hindering. Remember The Four Thoughts and Four Immeasurables. When institutions try to build another war machine or oligarchical institution, or try to illicit another senseless war, remember: if it’s not done out of love it’s not worth doing. The only way out of Saṃsāra is through Nirvana.

For more information, please check out my previous article Meditation and Intuition in the Fourth Age of Deception (the Kali Yuga)

Previous articles by Ethan (excellent reading!):

About the author:

Ethan Indigo SmithAuthor, activist and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book, The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics. His more recent publications include:

  • Tibetan Fusion a book of simple meditative practices and movements that can help you access and balance your energy
  • The Little Green Book of Revolution an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans
  • The Matrix of Four, The Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity on the subject of the development of individual consciousness
  • 108 Steps to Be in The Zone a set of 108 meditative practices and steps toward self discovery and individual betterment, including techniques to develop balance, transmute sexual energy and better the self
  • and the controversial book, Terra-ist Letters, a work that humorously contrasts the very serious issues of global nuclear experimentation promotion and global marijuana prohibition

For more information, visit Ethan on Facebook and check out Ethan’s author page on Amazon.com

You Are God: The True Teachings of Jesus

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In this article we will explore how the true teachings of Jesus can be summed up by three little words: you are God. Some missionaries came to my house the other day and I was given the opportunity to come face to face with the religious mind, to discover their relationship to God, and to remember my own (non-voluntary) experience with religion.

In such a short time though it was, it was absolutely clear that the foundational flaw of religion based off of the bible as it is primarily taught today (and in general, for the past 2000 years), is that it teaches first and foremost that we are separate from this force called God. But that is a contradiction because the bible, specifically the teachings of Jesus as I will clearly illustrate, teach that you are god, and that we are all God.

So, I have taken it upon myself to convince those missionaries, and you, that you are not only equal to God, but that you are God.

Now if you think it is blasphemy to believe that you are God, not only does that contradict what the bible says, but that is a major preconception you have been imbued with that will restrict you from ever experiencing directly that you are god, which in essence is what a spiritual awakening really is: an experience that you are intimately connected with God, that you are love, that you are loved, that you are unlimited, and that you are God, because that creative consciousness is within you.

According to a recent study done by Cambridge, around 88% of the worlds population believe in God. 88%! That is 6.16 billion people around the world, according to this study, who believe in God. That is not a trivial number.

Yet out of these 6.16 billion people, for how many of them is God more than just a belief? For what percentage of that 88% is God a tangible force that they connect to on a daily basis by allowing the bonds of their ego to dissolve, and then channeling that force into all that they do, and all that they are?

If those people could center themselves in the awareness that they are God-consciousness instead of just believing in the existence of such a magnificent force, then we could change the world in a matter of months. It is only when we continue to live separate from this infinite consciousness which is our original nature, that we are powerless and that we perpetuate all suffering and negativity on this planet.

None of the major spiritual teachers throughout history were religious. Jesus wasn’t a Christian, Buddha was not Buddhist, and Lao Tzu was not a Taoist (and I am not even sure I would call Taoism a religion, simply because there is no dogma taught at all, just observation, alignment, and harmony with nature and the cosmos).

All of these spiritual masters did not practice religion, they mastered themselves in solitude by looking within and meditating, and as a result they discovered that they were infinite and connected with the universal consciousness. Only later did we call this consciousness God.

That is what the core of all their teachings are about: that we are all spiritual beings, and that we are equal to god, and by practicing such things as forgiveness, kindness, honesty, and introspection we can become the Gods that we already are and create a peaceful heaven here on Earth.

Because Christianity is the worlds largest religion (practiced by an estimated 2.2 billion people), as a case study let us look at Jesus. He said three things which I want to draw your attention to specifically, and I will discuss each quote in an effort to show you that you are God, and that if you practice a bible/Jesus orientated religion, then it is actually in alignment with the truth of the teaching to believe that you are God.

God Is Love

“He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

Jesus says quite clearly here that God is love. He is not loving, he is not like love, he literally is love.

But really, what is love? Moreover, what is human emotion?

All human emotion is energy. What we have labelled as various emotions is merely our endeavor to classify and label different vibrations of energy that we feel so that we can talk about it with others. When you are feeling really low energy, you say you are depressed. When you are feeling very malevolent energy, you say you are angry, hateful, or maybe evil. But according to Jesus, what would you say when you are feeling the highest energy possible?

You would say you are love, or, that you are God.

Interestingly enough I came to an understanding of my spiritual nature through a study of physics, specifically Nassim Haramein’s unified field theory. Physicists have discovered that the entire universe is pure energy, and that nothing is solid. In the words of Einstein,

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

All that we are is energy, and that energy has no boundaries. It is infinite, it is the invisible force that permeates all space, and it is the force that connects all things because it is all things. Sound familiar? Everything in the universe is connected by energy, and that energy is consciousness, and that infinite consciousness is the source of creation which we have labelled as God.

When you oscillate with the vibration of love, you are resonating with the highest energy of creation which by necessity must be that universal and infinite consciousness, and thus you don’t just align with that energy, or channel it through you, you expand and become that energy.

This is a fact of physics.

This is what Jesus meant when he said that God is love. He didn’t mean that Gods love was something outside of you or separate from you, he said clearly that when you are in love, you abide God, and God in you, and thus, you are God when you are love. There is no separation. When you become love, you become God.

You Are God

“Is it not written in your Law, “I have said ‘you are gods’”?” (John 10:34)

This second quote of his couldn’t be any clearer. I am not sure how this is explained away in the major religions that use the bible, but Jesus is clearly telling each and every one of us, resounding to the world from two thousand years ago, that we are indeed God; that you are God.

He knew and he discovered within himself that he was not only connected to the creative force of the universe, the unified field, or the matrix of all matter as physicist Max Planck called it, but he realized that he was that creative force, and that all of creation was in a literal sense God.

Every person without exception is God. Every animal, every tree, and every star. It is only from the ego that we perceive separateness because we ourselves have become separated and disconnected from our internal connecting link with spirit that resides within each and every one of us.

We do not need to seek a priest to know God, we only have to seek our true nature and our inner truth and we will know that we are God. If everything in the universe is formless energy, and we are all connected by that energy, and if we are made up of that energy, and if that energy is the force we call God … how could we be anything but God?

Everything in that statement is absolutely true, provable by science, except for saying that energy is God. Most science (except for Nassim Haramein’s work) has not made that link between spirituality and science, but there are others such as Einstein and Max Planck who did. Einstein said himself, “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” Calling that energy ‘God’ is provable, but the only way to really know it is by experiencing it directly through yourself.

God Is Within You

“The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

So what Jesus is saying here is that the kingdom of God, heaven, the place where God allegedly resides, is actually within you. In other words, God is within you. I know, as well as anyone else who has ever seriously meditated knows, that when you go deep enough within yourself you will discover that you are infinite universal consciousness which some call God.

This is not egotistical. In fact, it is quite the opposite of ego, because when you go deep enough within yourself you also expand in consciousness and you become aware of yourself as an infinite and eternal spiritual entity, and your ego simply cannot exist in an environment like that.

Your ego is defined by your possessions, your body, your achievements, and your memories and so on, but when you meditate, you discover that you are something transcendent of all of that. ( For more information on the ego read: What Is Ego?)

Truly great spiritual teachers never practiced religion, they practiced love, and sought universal truth. They practiced deep meditative introspection and discovered knowledge of the universe and the secrets of the soul within them. And as a result of this they discovered the path to enlightenment and god-realization. This is what Jesus was trying to teach us, when he said with exasperation, “Is it not written in your laws that I said “You are Gods”?”

Imagine what he must have felt like, being able to see clearly that God is within every single creature, and that every human is the embodiment of God and made in “his own image” in terms of pure consciousness, but then every time he tried to tell them and prove to them with acts that defied reason (miracles), all the people either bowed at his feet, or hung him on the cross …

There is no difference between those who bowed at the feet of Jesus and those who hung him from the cross, because in both cases they did not get his message. One chose to revere him, the other to eliminate him, but neither chose to listen to him.
They did not believe him when he said you are gods, and thus they chose to misinterpret what he was saying as some sort of metaphor, but it was not, and it is not today. We all have divinity within us, but it is not our personal identity, the ego, it is above the ego and it is called pure conscious awareness.

When are we going to understand this truth that he tried to teach us?

When are we going to understand that when Jesus said, ‘You are Gods’, he meant, that we are all Gods. Our true nature is not form, it is pure energy which is consciousness. We are God-consciousness who has incarnated into this level of reality, but we have become so identified with material form that we forgot our original nature.

All you have to do to experience this truth for yourself and discover that you are God, is follow the advice of Jesus from this article, and look within yourself.

Be still, and know that you are God.

About the Author

 West is the creator of Project Global Awakening. A website dedicated to the research of a variety of scientific and spiritual disciplines, and applying that knowledge to help you live an inspired life and change the world. Follow Project Global Awakening on Facebook, and Twitter. 

Although I emailed Brandon and got his explicit permission to republish this:

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

I just subscribed to the Project Global Awakening website and it is wonderful. Do yourself a favor and go there now (link above) and look around, excellent articles, simple 8 step method meditation lessons, much more, check it out and subscribe.  There is so much good material to read. the first article I read was this:

The Unified Field and the Illusion of Time: Understanding the Source of Creation

http://www.projectglobalawakening.com/2014/04/06/body-projection-consciousness/

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There’s a course on how to meditate, human origins, Conscious Mind, the actual nature of Reality, ancient 10,000 year old Egyptian Knowledge and much more.

 

Visit: You Are God: The True Teachings of Jesus – Project Global Awakening.

Passion of Sophia – Gnostic Creation

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In the two slightly different tellings of the Gnostic creation story we have at the center our Divine Mother Sophia. Before we get to the shortened Passion of Sophia we really need to know a little more about Gnosticism, starting with Sant Mat.

The term Sant Mat literally translates as the Path of the God-Realized. A Sant is defined as an individual that has attained to the highest spiritual potential to which any human can aspire – complete self-knowledge and God-realization. This spiritually transfigured being, is commissioned by his own Sat Guru, as the literal embodiment of the Sat Purusha, the True God, sitting in all humility amongst humanity. His way, according to Sant Mat, is that of love, forgiveness and compassion. He teaches the necessity of individual spiritual awakening through certain methods of meditation practice. He also teaches the cultivation of ethical virtues including strict vegetarianism as an essential aspect of ahimsa, the virtue of non-violence.

One of the cardinal functions of a Sat Guru is to absolve through his own grace, sympathy and suffering, the accumulated karma of the spiritual aspirant, referring to the cycle of action and reaction that keeps the soul bound in creation, and is the motor force of the wheel of birth and death, the cycle of reincarnation. Without this forgiveness of the karmas of the past, there can be no liberation, for the soul remains ever bound in the karmic wheel. Therefore the guru, as the Word-made-flesh, the embodiment of Spirit incarnate in human form, plays a critical and central role in Sant Mat, and is regarded as an absolute prerequisite on the path of spiritual liberation.

The spiritual practices taught by the Sant: meditation on the inner spiritual Light and Divine Music. The spiritual practice is based on the belief that creation emerges as a state of vibration having two aspects: Light and Sound, termed the God-Into-Expression power, as its true nature is consciousness itself. The spiritual aspirant is guided into contact with the lowest links of these spiritual principles, as they represent the fundamental and formless nature of spirit and regarded as a direct contact with spirit. The first method involves meditation on the Ajna Chakra or third eye, while repeating a mantra consisting of five names, given by the Spiritual Master. These five names relate to the five major divisions of creation and are imbued with the spiritual power of the Sant who has attained each of these stages. They are also said to confer protection on the inner spiritual planes. Meditation at this center, leads to the awakening of inner vision and revelations of light.

The second spiritual practice is meditation on the inner spiritual sound. This practice does not involve any mantra, but attunement within to inner harmonics that first are heard on the right side, then gradually seems to come from above, changing character at each stage and having the quality of dramatic musical tones.

The practice of meditation on the Light and Sound principle as the fundamental worship of spirit, can be traced through various schools of Sufism, through the ancient Upanishads of India, through the practices and references of the Pythagorans and in the Egyptian Book of the Dead itself. It can also be found in the writings of the Gnostics: “I cast a Sound into the ears of those who know me. And I am inviting you into the exalted perfect Light.” – Trimorphic Protennoia

The Sant’s teach that their path has been maintained in its pristine form, unchanged and unchanging in its spiritual principles and practices, and as ancient as humanity. However, its outer expression and terminology has taken different forms according to the circumstance of the time. Kirpal Singh quoting Hazur Baba Sawan Singh in his biography of Hazur: “True Saints are not fastened to any religious sect or dress. They are free personalities. They are neither a party to one nor a foe to the other.”

In other words, in the mind of the Sants, they regard the spiritual teaching as universal, not a distinct sect or cult, but a basic spiritual dharma or truth teaching that is for all humanity regardless of their cultural/religious background. Therefore, they are not tied to any place, time or religious identity but adapt to the environment of the time.

Gnosis is a term synonymous with the Sanskrit term Gnana, and distinguishes direct spiritual realization from belief based on faith alone. As the Christian church grew and attempted to standardize, socialize and politicize its beliefs and doctrines, these mystic schools of Christian thought were increasingly viewed as heretical. Over several centuries, the church gained political power, suppressed the Gnostics and systematically destroyed their works. It was only in the latter part of the nineteenth century that original Gnostic writings came to light. In the early nineteen forties the remains of an entire library of Gnostic literature was found buried near the village of Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

The esoteric spirituality of the Gnostics existed within the setting of a great cosmic drama in which humanity is held captive by a creator God who functions through the rule of law (karma), and seduces man into his false worship. Yahweh is one of the many names of this false God. The True God on the other hand is a transcendent and Unknowable Absolute whose realm is the true place of spiritual liberation and whose nature is truth, love and forgiveness.

As with most of the great myths and “fairy tales” of the old world, story and allegory are meant to speak to the innermost recesses of the heart, mind and spirit. These are esoteric tales regarded as a symbolic/mythic rendering of the actual process and structure of creation. Some of the chief characters such as Sat Purush (The True Form of God/Gnostic: The Only-Begotten) and the opposing force, the energy that gives rise to materiality and rules the realms of karma, known as Kal (Dharam Rai, the Negative Power/Gnostic: Ialdabaoth, the Demiurge, etc.) are a very real presence in the discourses of the Gurus of Sant Mat.

Formless God and the Eternal Realm of God’s Attributes The Eternally Unmanifested Absolute takes form as the Timeless,
Changeless and Perfect Realm, known as Sach Khand (the True Realm) in Sant Mat or the Pleroma (fullness) of the Gnostics. Its inhabitants are the Perfect, Eternal and Distinct Elements of the Divine Totality. According to the teaching of Sant Mat in all ages, it is not given to the hypostasized elements of the Absolute to have the experience of the Wholeness from which their distinction takes its value.

”Only human beings, of all creation, can realize God within their lifetime. In the mystery of humanity is the opportunity for reconciliation between the parts and the whole and in this is hidden the very purpose of creation. It has been said that if even the angels wish to realize God, they too must take on human form, through which the potential for Godconsciousness may be fulfilled.” – Kirpal Singh

“In one there is always the delusion of many, and the totality does signify the existence therein of so many parts. The idea of a part and of the whole go cheek by jowl, and both the part as well as the whole are characterized by the similarity of the essential nature in them. The essence of a thing has its own attributive nature and the two cannot be separated from each other. Just as the essence is both one and many, so is the case with its attributive nature.” – Kirpal Singh

The Gnostic term, Pleroma and the eastern term, Sach Khand, are used interchangeably. These cosmic attributes are known as the Sons of Sat Purush in the East and the Aeons in Gnosticism. Sat Purush or the Only-Begotten is the Aeon that is the Being or the Mind, of the Absolute: pure consciousness and consciousness on all planes, thus also the bridge to creation proper.

“The Only-Begotten Mind alone, having issued from him directly, can know the Fore-Father: to all the other Aeons he remains invisible and incomprehensible.” – Hans Jonas

‘It was a great marvel that they were in the Father without knowing Him.’ – Gospel of Truth 22.27

Creation, Version One:
The myths now run in distinct and precisely opposite directions, at least in the Gnostic forms. The Kabiran version and one of the Gnostic versions states that there was an Aeon that cherished a desire for its own creation as an inherent part of its nature. We could say that the potential for separation from God is itself an Aeon. This leads ultimately to a creation existing in negative polarity with eternal Sach Khand, spinning the universes that exist in Time.

This separative Aeon, known as Mind or Time (Kal), is Sat Purusha’s first expansion in the Gnostic version and fifth in the Kabiran version. Kabir’s Anurag Sagar states that “He is created from the most glorious part of the body of Sat Purush”. Thus Sat Purush is cosmically linked to the “lower” creation, which eventually develops through Kal’s activity. In this we are warned away from value judgements of good/evil, and reminded that this entire process is under Divine Will (Hukam).

This Aeon was female: “Rushing up to the depth of the Father, she perceives that whereas all the begotten Aeons generate by copulation, the Father alone generates out of himself (being in this version without consort); in this she wants to emulate him and also generate out of herself without spouse, so that she may not fall short of the Father’s achievement. She failed to perceive that this is the power solely of the Unbegotten One, and so she managed only to bring forth a formless entity.”

Creation, Version Two:
In the second Gnostic version, the motivation is exactly the opposite; rather than a desire for separation, there is a longing for union. Structurally the tale is very similar in many respects. Here the longing of the Aeon, Sophia, to know the Absolute completely, is the primary force that sets in motion the process that eventually leads to
the development of the lower creation.

So it was that: “The Aeons longed only secretly to behold the begetter of their seed and to search for the root without beginning.” This longing is “the beginning of a crisis in the Pleroma”…since the Aeons “cannot forgo the aspiration to know more than their limits permit and thus to abolish the distance separating them from the Absolute. The last and youngest (and therefore outermost of the Aeons), the Sophia, leapt farthest forward and fell into a passion apart from the embrace of her consort. That passion had originated and spread from the vicinity of the Mind and Truth but now infected
the Sophia and broke out in her so that she went out of her mind, pretendedly from love, actually from folly or presumption, since she had no such community with the Father as the Only-Begotten Mind…The passion was a search for the Father, for she strove to comprehend his greatness. This, however, she failed to achieve, because what she attempted was impossible, and so she found herself in great agony; on account of the depth of the Abyss, into which in her desire she penetrated more and more, she would in the end have been swallowed up by its sweetness and dissolved in the
general being, had she not come up against the power that consolidates the All and keeps it off the ineffable Greatness. This power is called Limit: by him she was consolidated, brought back to herself, and convinced that the Father is incomprehensible. Thus she abandoned her previous intention and the passion engendered by it. These, however, now subsist by themselves as a ‘formless entity.'”

Sophia’s return to harmony in the Pleroma is, as noted by Jonas, “..the first restoration and salvation in the spiritual history of total being, and it occurs entirely inside the Pleroma, though as we shall see it is the cause of a chain of events outside it.”

The image of what has taken place in the Pleroma itself, indicates that the Aeon’s longing, which will ‘later’ lead to the lower creation, is eternally latent, eternally activated, and eternally reconciled. This certainly casts the mold for the triune attributes of creation described by Hinduism, that is, the triple Godhead and the three gunas. However, Kabir and Soami Ji assert that Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, satogun, rajogun, and tamogun come much later, far outside Sach Khand. In the meantime, ‘the formless entity’ created by Sophia’s passion, as we shall see, becomes the basis of all subsequent creation outside the Pleroma.

Creation Born of Sophia’s Passion
Once the “integrity of the Pleroma” had been restored and Sophia rejoined to her consort, she contemplated on her fate and the ‘formless entity’ to which her passion has given birth. This gives rise to various emotions, which also become embodied in the formless. The emotions evoked vary according to different Gnostic authors, but include grief, fear, bewilderment, shock, and repentance. A lesser Aeon is thus created out of the admixture of the Sophia’s longing for union, as well as her emotions in the wake of her failure.

The residue of this disturbance in the Pleroma “has become hypostatized as a positive realm by itself. Only at this price could the Pleroma be rid of it.” Thus the Limit (‘which separates the Aeons from the unbegotten Father” above and the ‘formless entity’, soon to be below – NT.) was not planned in the original constitution of the Fullness, i.e., of the free and adequate self-expression of the godhead, but was necessitated by the crisis as a principle of consolidation and protective separation.”

As ignorance and formlessness had appeared within the Pleroma, deep perturbation remained among the Aeons, who no longer felt safe, fearing like happenings to themselves.” A collective prayer to the Father invokes a new pair of Aeons whose purpose is to restore true serenity to the Pleroma and take care of the residual formlessness. These are Christos and Holy Spirit. The Christos imparts to the Aeons knowledge of their relationship to the Father that leads them to perfect repose. “As a fruit of their new unity, they all together, each contributing the best of his essence, produce an additional (and unpaired) Aeon, Jesus, in whom the Fullness is, as it were, gathered together and the regained unity of the Aeons symbolized. This ‘perfect fruit of the Pleroma,’ who contains all its elements, has later, as Savior, to carry in his person the Fullness out into the Void, in which the residue of the past disturbance, meanwhile
“formed” by Christos, still awaits salvation.”

The new Aeon, the Desire of the Sophia, is now separated as an entity unto itself, is called the Achamoth or the lower Sophia. Together with the Passions she is cast “outside” the Pleroma. Energized by the Christos reaching out from the Pleroma, she is left “with the awakened awareness of her separation from the Pleroma and the aroused longing for it. This initiates a redemptional task whose accomplishment requires a long detour of suffering and successive divine interventions.” In other words lower creation now becomes an inevitable development, yet paradoxically essential for
the higher purpose of reconciliation.

“The deserted Sophia impetuously sets out to seek after the vanished light, but cannot reach it, for the Limit obstructs her forward rush. She cannot penetrate through him, because of her admixture of the original Passion, and forced to remain alone in the outer darkness she falls prey to every kind of suffering that exists. In this she repeats on her own level the scale of emotions which her mother in the Pleroma underwent, the only difference being that these passions now pass over into the form of definitive states of being, and as such they can become the substance of the world… grief, because she could not get hold of the light; fear, lest besides the light also life might leave her; bewilderment, added to these; and all of them united in the basic quality of ignorance (itself counted as an ‘affection’). And still another state of mind ensued: the turning (conversion) toward the Giver of Life.”

The essential ignorance of the Demiurge, which leads him to declare himself to be the “unique and highest God”. “Ialdabaoth was boastful and arrogant, and exclaimed: ‘I am Father and God, and beyond me is none other.’” However, the processes he sets in motion, believing them to be his own, are in fact, fashioned by his mother. In this it is again suggested that no matter how ‘fallen’ creation ultimately becomes, the entire process is an expression of Divine Will.

The polarity between an ignorant creator God, well removed from even his Mother, and a far distant Eternity of Consciousness, i.e., the True God, is at the center of Gnostic and Sant Mat theology. Soami Ji repeatedly asserts, as did the Gnostics, that the God of the various world religions is none other then Kal or the Demiurge. Therefore, his worship is false and leads to ever-greater enmeshment rather than true liberation.

The Achamoth, the lower Sophia, leads the Demiurge into the knowledge of what is above him; “however, he keeps to himself the great mystery of the Father and the Aeons into which the Sophia has initiated him and divulges it to none of his prophets.” Imparting knowledge of the Father to the lower creation itself is left to “the incarnation of the Aeons Jesus and Christos from the Pleroma in the person of the historical Jesus.” This, at least, is an interpretation of
the Valentinian perspective, that being the Christian Gnostic tradition from which this story is derived. However, the extension of this concept in other Gnostic circles and so essential to Sant Mat, is that the incarnation in the world of “the common fruit” of the Pleroma, to bring salvation to the lower creation, is a perpetual manifestation,
somehow essential to the structure of the world. This is none other then the Living Master, the Grace bearing manifestation of Sat Purush. In this conception, the Godman, or Word-Made-Flesh, is ever present in the world, not a periodic incarnation as with Vishnu, or one that appears once in history and then again at the end of time, returning as judge and savior, as in the Christian conception.

Unwittingly, the Demiurge, (also known as Ialdabaoth), is led to the creation of godlike, yet innocent primal humanity, but leaves them in ignorance of their true origin and potential. His mother, the lower Sophia, however, working through the snake of wisdom, imparts Adam with gnosis, the spiritual knowledge of his true station. Seeing this awakened state, the jealous and angry Demiurge casts humankind farther into matter, where human nature recapitulates the passions and longing of its high progenitors. This, of course, is the tale of Adam and Eve turned on its head. The first children are
banished, not by God, but their apparent creator, who is, in fact, an impostor.

Despite the jealous machinations of the Demiurge it is the destiny of humanity to be the receptacle of the highest mysteries.

“…Listen to me, the Sound of the Mother of your mercy, for you have become worthy of the mystery hidden from the Aeons..” – Trimorphic Protennoia Nag Hammadi Library p.467

“Behold, Zostrianos, you have heard all these things of which the gods are ignorant..” – Zostrianos Nag Hammadi Library p.392

According to the Gnostics, the hope for salvation from the bondage of Time proceeds from the original passion for mergence in the Absolute God of the primal Sophia, which necessitated creation in the first place.

“Since Oblivion (the lower world) came into existence because they (the Aeons) did not know the Father, therefore if they attain to a knowledge of the Father, Oblivion becomes at that very instant nonexistent”

“Thus the world, unbeknown to its immediate author, is for the sake of salvation, not salvation for the sake of what happened within creation and to creation.” – Gospel of Truth 18. 7-14

In Gnostic theology there is no primal act, such as Eve’s so-called sin against God’s commandment, for which, all of humanity collectively partakes in guilt and for which salvation exists as a path to restoration, according to Christian doctrine. Indeed, true Gnosis is not the reconciliation of God and his rebellious creation, but in the poignant metaphor of the Gnostics, the vicarious fulfillment of the longing of the eternal Children of God, the Aeons, to merge in the Absolute. In this noble vision, though creation is a bridge extending from the fully illuminated realms to the dark, density of matter, this long journey out into Time and Mind generates a path of return transcending all attributes and merging in the undifferentiated Source.

“In Your Absence,
where is the once blooming
and ecstatic state of my heart?
I’m afraid lest the secret of our love
may be disclosed now.
Otherwise, who knew this hidden tale besides You.” – Sant Kirpal Singh

Source used: Dr. Neil Tessler’s book Sant Mat and the Gnostic Myth of Creation
If this resonates with you I recommend the Gnostic book Pistis Sophia (http://gnosis.org/library/psoph.htm)

One Soul, Many Bodies: The Case for Reincarnation

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What happens to us when we die? It’s a question everyone eventually asks themselves at some point in their life. It transcends racial, social, political, economic and gender lines, making it the one question common to all human beings whether we like it or not.

Yet ever since the first men and woman began pondering their mortality a hundred thousand years ago, the answer has eluded us. What does happen when we die? What becomes of our soul, our mind, our personality – our very essence? For that matter, do we even have such a thing as a soul, or is it all an illusion we have created to give ourselves a sense of permanence and the hope of immortality?

The rationalist answers this query by proclaiming that since we are nothing more than a collection of cells and our brains simply tissue encased within a mantle of bone, nothing can happen to us when we die. The essence, personality, mind – soul – or whatever we wish to call our consciousness, ceases to exist, endowing our time on this planet with no more meaning than that which we choose to give it during our brief sojourn here. This is, of course, the position of the atheist, which is what makes atheism, in my opinion, so easy. It requires nothing because it offers nothing, which strikes me as a fair trade.

To most people, however, this answer is unsatisfactory. It suggests that we are little more than some great cosmic accident and that, consequently, our life has no ultimate purpose, forcing us to contemplate an existence without meaning in a universe that, despite all its beauty and splendour, has no more significance – or ultimate permanence – than a flower that briefly blooms in the spring only to wither and die after a few short days of vibrant life.

I suppose there are people for whom such a prospect is acceptable. It does, after all, tidy things up and make life simply a little game we sentient beings like to play for no particularly good reason other than because we have no choice. Yet something deep within the human heart knows better. We instinctively understand that we are more than the sum of our parts, which is why most people believe their personalities will survive their physical demise in some form and will continue on long after their bones have turned to dust. This, of course, brings us to our second option, which is that the personality/ego/true self/whatever you want to call it does survive the demise of the body to exist – at least for a time – as a separate disembodied consciousness. If this is the case, however, the next question that logically follows is what happens next?

Some believe, for example, that we become ghosts – little more than disembodied spirits aimlessly wandering the Earth, capable of perceiving the physical realm but unable to interact with it in any meaningful way. They can even point to various evidences to support this contention, from reported hauntings to automatic writing, séances, and apparent disembodied spirits caught on film.

While I personally have no problem with the idea of ghosts, I don’t think existing as a disembodied consciousness is truly a viable long-term option for what happens to us. Ghosts always struck me as being transitory; beings stuck on the Earth plane for a time only to ultimately move on and so essentially vanish from our physical realm. As such, even if we are to become ghosts, it will be, at least for the vast majority of us, a brief experience and not our eternity. I suspect we all eventually move on to ‘greener pastures’, so to speak.

Now, however, is where things get more interesting. Most people, regardless of whether they believe in ghosts or not, believe that the essence of who we are – our “soul” if you will – goes some place. Heaven is the favoured destination for most; a place where our conscious personality, no longer shackled to the limitations and burdens of physical existence, survives within a perpetual state of bliss and joy throughout eternity. Some add to this by also embracing a belief in hell; a perpetual state of torment for those who turn to evil and so are doomed to exist forever within a conscious state of agony, regret, and fear.

Both positions, however, suffer from the same problem, and that is that they see our time here on this planet as but a blink of the eye of eternity, with the decisions we make – or fail to make – while in the body having profound and eternal ramifications. Unfortunately, this reduces the physical world to little more than a cosmic hatchery that exists only to birth new souls, each of which will spend a short time in it before winging – or, potentially, plunging – to their ultimate destiny.

While admittedly this idea does manage to make this single life of paramount importance, it also forces one to wonder why a physical realm is necessary at all. If the physical universe exists merely as a vehicle for our creation, why couldn’t the process be circumvented entirely and we be created directly into the spiritual realm – as was supposedly the case with God’s angels?

Why all the unnecessary pain and hardship of a physical existence – especially if there exists the very real danger that we might earn hell through our misdeeds – if the spirit realm is the only destination that awaits us? In such a context, physical existence seems not only pointless but, in many ways, even hazardous.

So where does that leave us? If no Heaven and if no Hell, then what’s left?

There is a third position to consider. It is one that until recently has been largely ignored in the West but has been embraced by literally billions of people around the world for thousands of years. It is the belief that this physical existence is neither insignificant nor transient, but instead is perpetually ongoing. It is the concept that our soul lives on not in some ethereal Eden – or Hades – somewhere, but realises perpetual existence through a process of continual rebirths into the physical realm, making our time on this planet not one single, brief experience, but a repetitive process realised through literally hundreds of lifetimes. It is a timeless belief – one that predates both Christianity and Islam by many centuries – and one that is known by many names in many cultures. It’s been called rebirth, regeneration, transmigration of the soul, even metempsychosis, but is perhaps best known to us today as reincarnation.

Upon first consideration, especially to those who haven’t given the idea great thought, reincarnation may seem to be a foreign or exotic concept, especially to the Western mind steeped in the scientific method and drenched in two thousand years of monotheistic religion. It is something for Hindu holy men to ponder, or New Agers to embrace, but nothing that seems particularly relevant to most Westerners today.

I can easily understand this perspective for it is one I held myself for the first forty years of my life. And the truth be told, it is an Eastern concept – one in vogue more than four millennia before Christ was born and a belief held to by nearly two billion of the world’s population today – making it one of the oldest and most enduring belief systems known to man. In fact, it may be the original post-mortem belief among early humans who probably considered the idea when they began noticing strong similarities between recently born offspring and their deceased ancestors. Perhaps the mannerisms or interests a child displayed reminded one of a deceased loved one or a birthmark mimicked that found on a long-dead grandparent, leading village elders to imagine that the dead ancestor had returned a second time – a not unreasonable assumption in cultures that naturally assumed the soul to be inherently immortal.

Unfortunately, Westerners have traditionally had a tendency to consider foreign or primordial religious concepts as primitive and so reject them out of hand. However, this perception appears to be slowly changing as reincarnationist beliefs have become more prevalent in the West, especially in the last fifty years, and is becoming increasingly popular to ever growing numbers of people.

A Lost Western Tradition of How the Soul Returns

Of course, unbeknownst to most people, reincarnation has always been a part of Western thought. The prospect that the soul repeatedly returns to the flesh flourished in ancient Greece almost three thousand years ago and may have played a far more important role in our development as a civilisation than traditional histories have led us to believe. Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and Pythagoras all taught and believed in some form of rebirth, the foundations of which were later adopted by the great Roman philosophers Ovid, Virgil, and Cicero, along with a host of other great thinkers of antiquity.

In fact, reincarnationist concepts were so prevalent in the centuries immediately preceding the birth of Christ, that they played a major role in many of the “mystery” religions of the Mediterranean; religions which were themselves to become the template for other later mystical faith systems of the region. Reincarnation, then, far from being a purely foreign concept was, in fact, widespread and may have strongly influenced the shape and thrust of Greek and Roman philosophy.

Even more of a surprise to many people, however, is the fact that reincarnationist concepts were also part of some of the more mystical branches of traditional Western religion, from the Sufis of Islam to the Gnostics of the early centuries of Christianity, and even within the Hasidic and Kabbalist traditions in Judaism. In fact, at times it virtually flourished and, especially in the case of Christianity, almost became the predominant belief system during the first few centuries of the Church’s existence until it was forced underground by the more traditional, non-reincarnationist branches of Christianity. Its proponent’s writings declared heretical and burned, the concept was so successfully suppressed by the Church of Rome that few Christians today even realise it was ever a part of their own faith.

Why was it suppressed? The obvious answer is because it threatened authority. Western religion is largely dependent upon the belief that man is destined to “die once and then be judged” to maintain control. In promising multiple rebirths, however, reincarnation renders the proclamations of the Pope or the Grand Mufti or whomever was the ruling head at the time transitory and, the truth be told, irrelevant. As such, reincarnation threatened the Church’s very livelihood, making it a very dangerous idea that had to be either suppressed or labelled as heretical in order for the Church to maintain its power base. As a result, the concept remained largely unknown outside of Asia for probably seventeen of the last twenty-one centuries.

Its revival in the West was imminent, however, with the arrival of the Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. Once the long forgotten writings of the ancient Greeks again became available and one could hold to previously forbidden ideas without forfeiting their lives, such once forbidden concepts as reincarnation became increasingly popular, especially among the intellectual elite of the era. Amongst those who held to some form of multiple rebirths are such notables as Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Voltaire, among others.

Interpreting What it Means to Reincarnate

However, since its reintroduction into the Western consciousness, reincarnation has undergone a transformation. It is no longer the unending “cycle of life” wheel taught by the Hindus and Buddhists, but has become a “school of higher education” designed to bring us to ever greater levels of spiritual enlightenment. This is why when a Hindu or a Buddhist and their fellow Western reincarnationist talk about the subject, it often appears as though they are speaking two different languages. This is because in some ways they are, which is where the confusion comes in.

To the Hindu, the soul is essentially stuck in a never ending cycle of rebirth which can never be broken due to the continual need to balance one’s karma. In effect, with each incarnation into the flesh, the human personality – a by-product of the underlying soul that birthed it – accumulates a degree of bad karma that must be worked off in order to restore balance to itself. Some of this karma can be worked off in life in the form of good works, but this is seldom sufficient to work off the entire debt, which must be accounted for in the next life by having the soul take on an incarnation that may be more difficult so the ongoing karmic debt can be worked off.

On rare occasions, a life may be so exemplary that the person might be born into a higher station (or caste in Hindu parlance) but as a rule, bad karma tends to outweigh good karma and, in being continually accumulated through each lifetime, adds to the growing debt that remains to be balanced and so perpetuating the rebirth cycle. (Of course, if one accumulates too much bad karma, they may not be reborn as a person at all, but could come back as an animal or even, in some teachings, an inanimate object such as a stone. This belief is called “transmigration of the soul” and is also a major element of Hindu teachings.)

Buddhism, on the other hand, while understanding the process of reincarnation in much the same way as does the Hindu, differs in that it teaches that the cycle of rebirth can be broken through achieving nirvana (literally, enlightenment), at which point the cycle is broken.

Enlightenment means essentially to be become aware of one’s true nature and to the realities contained within the Four Noble Truths as articulated by Gautama Buddha over two thousand years ago. These are: first, to be alive is to suffer due to the imperfection of human nature and the world around us; second, that the cause of suffering is attachment to transient things (in effect, craving or desiring things); third, that one can learn to let go of these attachments; and, finally, that the process of achieving enlightenment is progressive and may itself extend over many lifetimes.

In sharp contrast, to many Western reincarnationists, the purpose of rebirth is to learn the lessons we need to learn in each incarnation in order to advance to the next spiritual level which, while having some similarities to the Buddhist concept of slowly achieving enlightenment over a number of incarnations by practicing the Buddha’s Eightfold Path (right view, right intentions, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration), is actually quite different.

The Buddhist does not believe that one is “learning” new lessons with each lifetime, but simply applying the principles contained within the Eightfold Path until craving, ignorance, delusions and its effects gradually disappear as progress is made towards enlightenment. To the Western mindset, attachment is not seen as the source of the problem (though it does generally acknowledge that an obsessive attachment to things can be detrimental to spiritual growth).

Another significant difference between Eastern and Western concepts of reincarnation have to do with the perception of what it is, exactly, that is reincarnating. The Hindu sees the soul – the divine essence of God – as being the generator of each incarnation, with the individual personality or ego a transient expression of that soul.

In marked contrast, the Buddhist doesn’t believe in individualised souls at all, but believes the sense of self is merely an illusion created by our own perceptions – a conscious “memory” if you will, conceived by our assumption that we exist separately. To the Buddhist, we are all a part of a larger, divine consciousness that has simply taken on the very brief “illusion” that it is separate. The Buddhists compare our sense of existence to the waves upon the ocean; just as a wave is a temporary phenomena caused by wind and currents, our personality is equally as transient and is, upon death, absorbed back into the divine consciousness in the same way that a wave upon the ocean is eventually swallowed up by the ocean itself.

In the West, however, the personality – or ego – is more robust and generally considered immortal. To many, the soul and the personality are considered essentially synonymous, so as a result, when we die, our basic personality – complete with all its memories, life experiences, knowledge, and traits – returns in another body to continue its existence. It may not have a direct memory of its past life – though some people claim to be possess the ability to consciously remember their previous incarnations – but it is essentially the same personality starting life over again in another context.

The personality may experience dramatically new surroundings – for example, it may experience one incarnation as an Indian girl who lived and died in the nineteenth century and then return as a Spanish man in the twentieth century – but it is still the same “person” underlying each “role.” Of course, the experiences and environment it finds itself in through each subsequent incarnation will affect the base personality in both subtle and sometimes substantial ways, but this too is a part of the process. This is why the Westerner sees reincarnation in the context of “lessons.” After all, the Indian girl was able to experience and learn only so much in her short time on Earth, mandating that she return again – this time as a Spanish male – to learn those things she either neglected to learn or hadn’t the opportunity to learn in her previous incarnation.

This makes spiritual enlightenment a type of “to do” list that needs to be checked off in its entirety before we can cease the process of rebirth. (What happens after that is equally open to speculation among Westerners: some imagine we come back as avatars or spiritual teachers; others speculate that we start the process over again on another planet, while still others maintain that we move onto other dimensions. Apparently, the options available to the enlightened soul are extensive.)

I wonder, however, if the truth is not a conglomeration of each of these perceptions? Clearly the Eastern concepts of a parent soul that births each and every individual personality has merit, as does the Buddhist belief in the transient, temporary nature of the ego that is birthed. And the Western concept that we reincarnate until we learn what we need to know also has some validity and seems to parallel in some ways the Buddhist idea that the cycle of rebirth ends upon achieving enlightenment – however one chooses to define the term.

I often wonder if we aren’t all looking upon the same phenomena and not simply seeing only those parts of it that speak to us personally. I suspect our understanding of the purpose for reincarnation is lacking in many ways and may never be entirely complete, though I also believe we are making progress in coming to a fuller appreciation for its complexity and sophistication. Perhaps one day East and West will come together and merge their different perceptions and in so doing, form a complete whole that answers everyone’s questions.

Of course, I recognise that such may sound like a contradictory process. After all, how can there be a soul and yet not a soul, and how can the ego be immortal and yet transient? To combine both Western and Eastern concepts of reincarnation would seem to embrace paradox, but I have found it is often within the complexities of paradox that the truth exists. In fact, it is only our limited ability to understand that makes these apparent contradictions paradoxes in the first place.

I wonder if they would still appear as such were we to find the capacity within ourselves to truly understand on a level our current mental capacity does not permit. On the other hand, perhaps understanding these concepts is not done at a mind level, but on a spiritual level, which is a difficult place for many people to go.

Maybe in the end we were never meant to fully understand how reincarnation works, and that may be where the adventure really begins. Perhaps the question of what happens to us when we die was never meant to be answered but merely explored, for it is in seeking – not necessarily finding – the answer that growth can take place.

It may be, in fact, that it is only in abandoning our need to find the answers that we give them the ability to find us. In effect, we may be like the man who is so busy looking for treasure that he fails to realise he is searching for it within the bowels of a gold mine. Were he to but look up and see the treasure that shimmers all around him, he would realise how silly his fervent quest had been all along. Perhaps we need only do the same.

Jeff Allen Danelek’s latest book The Case for Reincarnation: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Soul (Llewellyn, 2010) is available from all good bookstores or via www.newdawnbooks.info.

If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.

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A native Minnesotan who currently resides in Colorado, JEFF ALLEN DANELEK has been working as a graphic artist and technical illustrator since leaving the Navy in 1984. He has been writing as a hobby for fifteen years, and enjoys presenting alternative theories on increasingly popular subjects dealing with the strange and inexplicable world around us. Danelek is regularly featured at seminars, conferences, and has been a frequent guest on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and the X-Zone with Rob McConnell. His books include The Case for Ghosts, Atlantis: Lessons from a Prehistoric Civilization, UFOs: The Great Debate, and 2012: Extinction or Utopia: Doomsday Prophecies Explored. His latest book is The Case for Reincarnation: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Soul. Danelek is also a novelist and instructor at Colorado Free University. His website is www.ourcuriousworld.com.

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue 14.

© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.

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The Beginning Is Near

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By Zen Gardner

Reprinted with permission from Zen Gardner

We have free will, a majestic gift of choice coupled with conscious awareness at a level that seems to be unique to creation. All of creation has its own vibrational attributes, but humanity has been gifted in a very special way. Whether we utilize this gift consciously or not appears to be the dilemma we’re faced with.

Yet we seek an escape from this life, a place of refuge. Ironic. Or is it a sense of knowing that something more real and wonderful exists?

There’s much talk about portals, energy vortices, jump locations and wormholes. Where we’re trying to go to is a fundamental issue. The point is, how and where do we find a place of transition to other circumstances? Is it activism? Is it our personal way of perceiving reality?

Or both?

Do we already have access to this other reality? Has escape always been the default position in this accosted world resulting in religion and sequestered lives driven by survival and an engineered sense of scarcity? Is this what has happened to the stand and fight mentality?

Does Humanity Get What It “Deserves”?

This is a huge question. Not just the karma issue, but the even deeper innate mechanics of the Universe. If Universe is perfect in every way, everything we’re experiencing is “justified”. Has humanity allowed itself, yes allowed itself, to be so degraded that its very decrepit condition invites and encourages predators?

To continue the analogy, are the parasites and viruses “going for the whole enchalada”?

Pretty serious stuff to consider, especially in the light of society being a reflection or reinforcement of anything imposed upon it. The question remains; does a dying body politic invite the very influences it eschews?

The Universe is Reflective

What we impose comes back. What we are willing to receive is another factor. But just imagine we’re abutted with a huge energetic field, ready to do our bidding. An extremely empowering notion. No matter what is living in this force field is considered fair game for such a Universal force. As an independent resource we should revel in such an idea.

Most profoundly, this “field” reflects our intentions and desires.

Now picture a human race that is enthralled with its own survival, under similarly subjected conditions. But they’re under attack. Where will they place themselves in the scheme of things? Will they realize their condition, or relinquish their autonomy for something that seems to save them?

Taking It Lying Down Is a Choice

A dead or dying organism invites parasites of all kinds. This is the current state of our world. As perverted, drugged down and immune deficient humanity glides into their brave new world of somatazation, we see the growth of the totalitarian police state.

We’re inviting it. By our acquiesced degradation.

A dead animal, or human, decays at an accelerating pace. Parasitic organisms move swiftly to devour and do away with the dead corpse. It’s natural. So the degradation of ethical and spiritual aspects of human culture. As we lay down, we accept the seemingly inevitable. A terrible vortex to find our collective selves, but we are there apparently, circling the drain.

This discourse may seem to meander, but it has its purpose.

Our Aliveness is the Key

An alive, resilient body is not a target for disease. The dead and dying are. The overall diseased “body politic”  today is  a sitting duck for control and manipulation. Ours is to keep alive and activating.

As synchronicity has it, as I was pondering these thoughts, I walked past a dead animal under a tree by the roadside. It was infested with hungry insects devouring the food. The next day all that was there was the fur. They work fast once the subject has succumbed.

Will humanity succumb? It doesn’t look good from a macro perspective. But I know individually the awakening is creating health and wellness at an enormous rate. Will it be in time?

It’s up to us.

Be alive. Be active.

You are in charge. Use your majesty of free will.

Love, Zen

Previous articles by Zen Gardner:

About the author:

I have questions. Life is wonderful – full of amazing wonders that continue to unfold. My quest for truth has given me new perspectives which lead to well springs of information that continue to inspire awe and wonder at the world we live in. Dare to explore and see what leaves you…. just wondering. Love Zen.

Connect with Zen at zengardner.com