The Evolution of Consciousness With Peter Russell

peterrussell
For years Western Science has relegated consciousness to an epiphenomenon created by the brain. There are, however, serious problems with this approach and an alternative worldview is emerging in which consciousness is an essential quality of the cosmos.

With human beings, this universal consciousness has evolved to the stage of self-reflective consciousness — we are aware that we are aware — opening us to new realms of imagination and innovation. Yet, at the same time, our newfound powers are also threatening our survival as a species. We are being asked to step beyond a limited ego-centric consciousness and awaken to our true nature, to discover for ourselves the inner peace and freedom spoken of by mystics the world over.

Peter Russell is an author, public speaker, and multimedia producer who is recognized as a leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He coined the term “global brain” with his 1980’s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the Internet and the impact it would have on humanity. He is the author of nine books, including Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.

His principal interest is the inner challenges of the times we are passing through. Peter believes if we are to navigate our way safely through these turbulent times we need to listen to the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, as well as to our current scientific understanding. For more information on him visit: peterrussell.com

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The Seven Pillars of the Matrix

Seven-Pillars-non-esoteric
“No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”

His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to. Few if any of these were ever negotiated- they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.

But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt? He has been told what to do, believe, think and feel since he can remember. A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable. They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes and rarely get out of line. When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.

One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man’s predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep and pigs who wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through his entire life. How is this accomplished? Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them. Once this is accomplished the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, originally organized in groups with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150- it was easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure such as God, King, President, CEO etc.

The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from which few ever escape. The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can’t accept the ‘complexity of modern life’, i.e. conspiracy nuts.

DELUSION DWELLERS, Laurie Lipton, 2010

Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave, where people only see man made shadows of objects, institutions, Gods and ideas:

“–Behold! human beings living in an underground cave…here they have been from their childhood…necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance…the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets… and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall…”

It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other. Before language, every sensation was directly felt through the senses without the filter of words. But somewhere around 50,000 years ago language began to replace reality and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix. As soon as the words began to flow the world was split, and from that fracturing was born man’s angst and slavery. The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen onto which the images from Plato’s cave were cast. Gurdjieff said it well, “Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself.”

It’s no accident that in Hesiod’s ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver age, and by the time we reach the Bronze age the dominant theme is toil and strife. The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language and agriculture. In the hunter gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well placed fastball to the head. Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible, and hence enslavement inevitable.

The search for enlightenment rarely if ever bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities. Almost all traditions point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening; they are the true antidotes to modern slavery. As Aristotle wrote, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

So from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through the seven layers of the Matrix.

1981004006Education

There are things we are born able to do like eating, laughing and crying and others we pick up without much of an effort such as walking, speaking and fighting, but without strict institutional education there is no way that we can ever become a functioning member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which of course is school. How else could you take a hunter and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony and uniformity?

Children naturally know who they are, they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of schedules, rules, lists and grades which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren’t. We drill the little ones until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent and endure submission. They learn they aren’t free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names and languages.

It can’t be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity. What child when she first goes to school isn’t taken back to hear herself referred to by her full name?

It’s not as if language itself isn’t sufficiently abstract- nothing must be left without a category. Suzy can’t just be Suzy- she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots, armies, uniforms, currencies and languages. Once all the mascots, tag lines and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin to be taught. The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes which have come down through the ages cement this matrix into the child’s mind.

Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her. An apple will never again be just an apple- it will become a noun, a subject, or an object. Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child in Matrixese.

We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery- not how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh or play. We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats.

ObamaGovernment

In the countries that claim to be democratic the concept of a government created to serve the people is often espoused. Government, and the laws they create and enforce are institutionalized social control for the benefit of those who have seized power. This has always been the case and always will be. In the pre-democratic era it was much clearer to recognize who had power, but the genius of massive democratic states are the layers upon layers of corporatocracy and special interests which so brilliantly conceal the identify of those who really manage the massive apparatus of control.

The functions of the state are so well esconded in dogmatic versions of history taught in schools that almost no one questions why we need anything beyond the bare essentials of government to maintain order in the post-industrial age. The history classes never point the finger at the governments themselves as the propagators and instigators of war, genocide, starvation and corruption. In Hollywood’s version of history, the one most people absorb, ‘good’ governments are always portrayed as fighting ‘bad’ ones. We have yet to see a film where all the people on both sides simply disengage from their governments and ignore the calls to violence.

The state apparatus is based on law, which is a contract between the people and an organism created to administer common necessities- an exchange of sovereignty between the people and the state. This sounds reasonable, but when one looks at the mass slaughters of the 20th century, almost without exception, the perpetrators are the states themselves.

The loss of human freedom is the only birthright offered to the citizens of the modern nation. There is never a choice. It is spun as a freedom and a privilege when it is in fact indentured servitude to the state apparatus and the corporatocracy that controls it.

patriotism-flag-respect-devotionPatriotism

Patriotism is pure abstraction, a completely artificial mechanism of social control. People are taught to value their compatriots above and beyond those of their own ethnic background, race or religion. The organic bonds are to be shed in favor of the great corporate state. From infancy children are indoctrinated like Pavlov’s dogs to worship the paraphernalia of the state and see it as a mystical demigod.

What is a country? Using the United States as example, what actually is this entity? Is it the USPS, the FDA, or the CIA? Does loving one’s country mean one should love the IRS and the NSA? Should we feel differently about someone if they are from Vancouver instead of Seattle? Loving a state is the same as loving a corporation, except with the corporations there is still no stigma attached to not showing overt sentimental devotion to their brands and fortunately, at least for the moment, we are not obligated at birth to pay them for a lifetime of services, most of which we neither need nor want.

Flags, the Hollywood version of history and presidential worship are drilled into us to maintain the illusion of the ‘other’ and force the ‘foreigner/terrorist/extremist’ to wear the stigma of our projections. The archaic tribal energy that united small bands and helped them to fend off wild beasts and hungry hoards has been converted into a magic wand for the masters of the matrix. Flags are waved, and we respond like hungry Labradors jumping at a juicy prime rib swinging before our noses. Sentimental statist propaganda is simply the mouthguard used to soften the jolt of our collective electroshock therapy.

PopeReligion

As powerful as the patriotic sects are, there has always been a need for something higher. Religion comes from the Latin ‘re-ligare’ and it means to reconnect. But reconnect to what? The question before all religions is, what have we been disconnected from? The indoctrination and alienation of becoming a card carrying slave has a cost; the level of abstraction and the disconnect from any semblance of humanity converts people into nihilistic robots. No amount of patriotic fervor can replace having a soul. The flags and history lessons can only give a momentary reprieve to the emptiness of the Matrix and that’s why the priests are needed.

The original spiritual connection man had with the universe began to dissolve into duality with the onset of language, and by the time cities and standing armies arrived he was in need of a reconnection, and thus we get our faith based religions. Faith in the religious experiences of sages, or as William James put it, faith in someone else’s ability to connect. Of course the liturgies of our mainstream religions offer some solace and connection, but in general they simply provide the glue for the Matrix. A brief perusal of the news will clearly show that their ‘God’ seems most comfortable amidst the killing fields.

If we focus on the Abrahamic religions, we have a god much like the state, one who needs to be loved. He is also jealous of the other supposedly non-existent gods and is as sociopathic as the governments who adore him. He wipes out his enemies with floods and angels of death just as the governments who pander to him annihilate us with cultural revolutions, atom bombs, television and napalm. Their anthem is, “Love your country, it’s flag, its history, and the God who created it all”- an ethos force fed to each new generation.

The Most Fanatic Supporters In The WorldCircus

The sad thing about circus is that it’s generally not even entertaining. The slaves are told it’s time for some fun and they move in hordes to fill stadiums, clubs, cinemas or simply to stare into their electrical devices believing that they are are being entertained by vulgar propaganda.

As long as homo domesticus goes into the appropriate corral, jumps when she is told to and agrees wholeheartedly that she is having fun, than she is a good slave worthy of her two days off a week and fifteen days vacation at the designated farm where she is milked of any excess gold she might have accumulated during the year. Once she is too old to work and put to pasture, holes are strategically placed in her vicinity so she and her husband can spend their last few dollars trying to get a small white ball into them.

On a daily basis, after the caffeinated maximum effort has been squeezed out of her, she is placed in front of a screen, given the Matrix approved beverage (alcohol), and re-indoctrinated for several hours before starting the whole cycle over again. God forbid anyone ever took a hallucinogen and had an original thought. We are, thankfully, protected from any substances that might actually wake us up and are encouraged stick to the booze. The matrix loves coffee in the morning, alcohol in the evening and never an authentic thought in between.

On a more primal level we are entranced with the contours of the perfect body and dream of ‘perfect love’, where our days will be filled with soft caresses, sweet words and Hollywood drama. This is maybe the most sublime of the Matrix’s snares, as Venus’s charms can be so convincing one willingly abandons all for her devious promise. Romantic love is dangled like bait, selling us down the path of sentimentally coated lies and mindless consumerism.

MoneyMoney

Money is their most brilliant accomplishment. Billions of people spend most of their waking lives either acquiring it or spending it without ever understanding what it actually is. In this hologram of a world, the only thing one can do without money is breath. For almost every other human activity they want currency, from eating and drinking to clothing oneself and finding a partner. Religion came from innate spirituality and patriotism from the tribe, but money they invented themselves- the most fantastic and effective of all their tools of domestication.

They have convinced the slaves that money actually has some intrinsic value, since at some point in the past it actually did. Once they were finally able to disconnect money completely from anything other than their computers, they finally took complete control, locked the last gate and electrified all the fences. They ingeniously print it up out of the nothing and loan it with interest in order for 18-year-olds to spend four years drinking and memorizing propaganda as they begin a financial indebtedness that will most likely never end.

By the time the typical American is thirty the debt is mounted so high that they abandon any hope of ever being free of it and embrace their mortgages, credit cards, student loans and car loans as gifts from a sugar daddy. What they rarely asks themselves is why they must work to make money while banks can simply create it with a few key strokes. If they printed out notes on their HP’s and loaned them with interest to their neighbors, they would wind up in a penitentiary, but not our friends on Wall Street- they do just that and wind up pulling the strings in the White House. The genius of the money scam is how obvious it is. When people are told that banks create money out of nothing and are paid interest for it the good folks are left incredulous. “It can’t be that simple!” And therein lies the rub- no one wants to believe that they have been enslaved so easily .

watch tvCulture

“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology.”
Terence McKenna

As Terence loved to say, “Culture is not your friend.” It exists as a buffer to authentic experience. As they created larger and larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion. Drum beats and sweat were exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise. Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic dogma.

If money is the shackles of the matrix, culture is its operating system. Filtered, centralized, incredibly manipulative, it glues all their myths together into one massive narrative of social control from which only the bravest of souls ever try to escape. It’s relatively simple to see the manipulation when one looks at patriotism, religion or money. But when taken as a whole, our culture seems as natural and timeless as the air we breathe, so intertwined with our self conception it is often hard to see where we individually finish and our culture begins.

download (1)Escaping the Grip of Control

Some might ask why this all-pervasive network of control isn’t talked about or discussed by our ‘great minds’. Pre-Socratic scholar Peter Kingsley explains it well:

“Everything becomes clear once we accept the fact that scholarship as a whole is not concerned with finding, or even looking for, the truth. That’s just a decorative appearance. It’s simply concerned with protecting us from truths that might endanger our security; and it does so by perpetuating our collective illusions on a much deeper level than individual scholars are aware of.”

Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn’t a fish. To leave the ‘water’, or Plato’s cave takes courage and the knowledge that there is something beyond the web of control. Over 2,300 hundred years ago Plato described the process of leaving the Matrix in the Allegory of the Cave as a slow, excruciating process akin to walking out onto a sunny beach after spending years in a basement watching Kabuki.

How can this awakening be explained? How do you describe the feeling of swimming in the ocean at dusk to someone who as never even seen water? You can’t, but what you can do is crack open a window for them and if enough windows are opened, the illusion begins to lose its luster.

About the Author

Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and esotericist. Download his latest novel, Your Love Incomplete, for free here.

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.

 

Our Adventure in the Matrix

5th DIMENSIONAL ARRIVAL

V. Susan Ferguson

Within each and every one of us is the God-given ability to access a myriad of realities in various dimensional realms, as many have discovered for themselves. When we began our adventure in and through the Cycles of Time, we knew who we were, a portion of the all pervading One. Now most have forgotten. In this fourth phase of the Cycles of Time, we have indeed lost the ability to move beyond the five senses and traverse the dimensions as the ETs and other beings do. As this age draws to its inevitable conclusion and the veils are lifted, we will regain this natural endowment.

We are living in the Twilight of the Age of Conflict & Confusion, the Kali Yuga in Sanskrit. In a world without end, this is the final of four yugas that make up a Maha-Yuga. The Cycles of Time are vast. There are 71 Maha-Yugas in a Manvantara, and 14 Manvantaras in a Kalpa, which is one day in the Mind of God. We are now in the 7th Manvantara of this Kalpa, so half way through. Because the Veils of Illusion in this cycle of time are reaching the depths of the solidification of matter and density, the Age of Conflict & Confusion offers us the greatest opportunity to acquire life’s real treasure — Wisdom Knowledge.

The First Cycle is an Age of Wisdom

The first or golden age is the Age of Wisdom, the Satya [Truth] or Krita Yuga. The Creator, in Its desire to experience Itself, assumes the appearance of separation into numerous light beings, creator ‘god’ beings, which continually fragment further into us as the cycles descend in time creating a vast profusion of DNA based data-collecting vehicles. In this first Yuga, all the ‘gods’ begin to manifest and create their desires in form with the fullness of knowing they/we as parts of the Creator are equals.  We all have the same soul, the One.

In this age they/we, the apparent pieces of the One, express ourselves freely, knowing and fully Remembering and knowing who we are. We exist in states of Bliss Consciousness as translucent transparent Light Beings. Our thoughts become form. We are playing — and about to get lost in our own ‘play’! As ‘god’ light beings, we begin to project portions of ourselves into the data-collecting vehicles we have created, meaning we incarnate into bodies to further experience the adventure of creation. We begin to feel a sense of loss and a longing for our original state.

The Age of Ritual

In the second age, the Age of Ritual or Treta Yuga, the vibrational frequencies of the created universe gradually begin to speed up and simultaneously decay. We, the ‘god’ beings start to compete with each other for creative space. Because we are in duality, we desire power over each other and contemplate how to coerce the other gods to play our games. It’s fun!

We conceive rituals to bridge the potential in the formless realms with the temporal world of form. Initially, rituals allow the ‘gods’ playing in form to access raw power from the un-formed, the plenum in the Void. Although ritual is a weakened means of focused conscious thought, in this second era ritual becomes the intermediary mechanistic tool used to manipulate and enhance creative powers. Form no longer instantly springs from our mind.

As the frequencies of manifested consciousness continue to fall, some individual clever gods discover how to control the others. By exploiting the use of ritual, they trick and delude other ‘god’ beings into worshiping them. Thus they generate an abundance of energy, which they use to create all manner of fantastic illusory worlds, the myriad realms, heavens and hells. These clever gods build astral-spirit bodies to inhabit the hierarchical worlds they create. They no longer incarnate in physical bodies, but rather vicariously parasitically ‘enjoy’ the experiences of those who are incarnating.

The Age of Doubt

In the third age, the Age of Doubt or the Dvapara Yuga, the frequencies of creation move further toward density and the solidification of matter. The ‘god’ beings in form begin to doubt, and from doubt they/we lose memory. Most forget who we are, our Source and Oneness. We are not yet confined in limited five-sense perception. We can still see those ‘gods’ who are in various dimensional realms, but are not in our third dimensional form — and in the course of our forgetting, we begin to worship them.

Throughout the Ages, the wily clever ‘gods’ who have ceased to incarnate continue to build illusory worlds as innumerable phantasmal hierarchies of heavens and hells. While the gods in the lower density of form become trapped in the cycles of transmigration, the adventure of samsara. We have Forgotten who we are and doubt the divinity that dwells in the Heart within us all. The universe is astonishing in its vast complexity, but the only eternal Real in all this vast temporal flux is the all pervading One, imperishable eternal immutable. Thou are That! TAT TVAM ASI.

The Age of Conflict & Confusion

The fourth age, the Age of Conflict & Confusion, the Kali Yuga, is the period we have been living in for the last 6,000 years, all of written history. The pulsating frequencies of time have accelerated to frenzied levels that lead to complexity, instability and collapse. A dense web of delusion and somnolence, a miasma of amnesia, surrounds and obfuscates our visible world. Our experience of time is altered and thus, the phantasmal worlds have become invisible to those of us living in this physical density Newtonian-realm.

Today only a small number of people are able to see the so-called Invisible Realms. The ability of true Seers to ‘see’ has been inherited genetically because by chance or destiny, it was not bred out of their DNA. In other cycles such ‘sight’ was our God-given right of all — but in the Kali Yuga, the Veils of Delusion are tightly drawn.

Writing is a Symptom of Memory Loss

We have lost true memory. Our capacity to know and to remember is limited to writing, which is itself a symptom, like an illness, of the Kali Yuga. The written word is established and accepted as the only means of transmitting knowledge. There is no evidence of written history in the previous three cycles because it was not needed. What we do know of those cycles is based on memorized oral transmissions later inscribed during the Kali Yuga. In the previous cycles, knowledge was passed from generation to generation orally. Our command of memory today is a pathetic semblance by comparison.

Only in the most ancient of texts, such as the Sanskrit, and certain Taoist and Tibetan writings, do we get a glimpse into the previous three cycles. The Sanskrit epic ‘The Mahabharata’ and the many Puranas contain lengthy predictions of what the Kali Yuga will be like, even foretelling the availability of  ‘fast food’ — another symptom of this dark age. Thieves become kings, and kings are thieves. Men devote themselves to earning money and only the richest, not the wisest, hold power.

In the Age of Conflict and Confusion, the creator ‘gods’ forget who they/we are, forget that we were once brilliant Beings of Light as we lose our inner-connection our own divinity, the God-within. Ironically, those self-serving tricky gods residing in their self-created phantasmal hierarchies are just as trapped as those of us who are incarnating in the precarious and repetitive physical world. Predictably they are reluctant to give up their power and change.

In order to make way for the next cycle, a new golden Age of Wisdom, many radiant-light Beings, highly evolved and enlightened from outside this universe, enter to assist in breaking up existing temporal forms. In the final phases of the Kali Yuga, they are available in the Heart of each man, woman and child to help us lost in Forgetting and who, weary of this temporal illusory matrix, long for freedom. God is Love.

Death is an Illusion. No one ever dies. Who wants to live forever in a created reality that has become stuck and frozen in a stagnant state? As always, the Creator is moving on!

Cyclical Time

In Hindu metaphysics time is cyclical and each period of manifestation is called a KALPA of Brahma, equivalent to 4.32 billion human years.

The KALPA is subdivided into 14 MANVANTARAS.
We are now in the seventh MANVANTARA of this KALPA.
Each MANVANTARA is divided into 71 MAHA-YUGAS of 4,320,000 years each.
We are in the 28th MAHA-YUGA of this MANVANTARA.
Each MAHA-YUGA is made up of four yugas
Each Yuga is preceded by a period of a dawn and followed by a period of twilight. [Linga Purana 1.4.3-6]

Voices from the Four Cycles of Time: Beginnings 

Satya

In the Beginning, there is no beginning,
Only the Solitude of the One.
The One Being, Emptiness, the Void,
Space filled with Ether.
An eternal Hunger resides in the Silence of Space.
Hunger moves, growing, longing to be filled,
Tension becoming agitation, vibration.

Water forms in Ether,
Fire emerges within Water.
All is vibration — pulsating waveforms
born from Hunger in the Solitude, the One.

We are the One enjoying the appearance of Separation.

Treta

We are beginning the Forgetting. Our perceptions are now altering, falling down in frequency, our bodies becoming less luminous, solidifying into the density that will inevitably be flesh and blood.
The Fall is subtle. Some are not even aware of the shift.

We begin to quarrel. We are hungry and for the first time in Time, we must work with Nature’s elements to provide for ourselves and our children. We women now come into our season once each year. The wise ones say that soon we will be tied to the cycles of our Moon, and thus there will be more and more children to love, to feed.

The task of preserving the eternal Knowledge that is Wisdom must not be lost, must continue somehow. Our lives still revolve around the perennial Wisdom – the basis for this universe. All over this planet are the superb domes, translucent and bright, where we gather to Remember. We communicate as before, mind to mind.

We require no writing, only a few encoded supernal symbols that please us.

Dvapara

I am sage and Seer, born in the ancient lineages of the Sacred Warrior — and the final war of this cycle is coming. We all are keenly aware of its presence. We can feel war beginning, impinging on our world. We smell the demons coming to destroy our race. The Sacred Warriors must all vanish – and yet even knowing our fate, we will fight to win to the last man.

Time eats everything. Time cooks consciousness. Time is irresistible, inevitable, inexorable, ineluctable, overwhelming all.

Kali

I am suffocating. I am born live and die again and again. Lost in time, tossed about by my own compulsions, I no longer Remember Truth. There is no Love, only need and temporal possession. There is no Love, only wars. Cities and civilizations rise up, and fall again in endless repetition.

Our world is beginning to die. We are trapped in the webs of our self-created Illusions. The fabric of our own dark consciousness has encased us in the sheaths of Forgetting. We know not who and what we are.

About the Author

V. Susan Ferguson is the author of Inanna Returns, Inanna Hyper-Luminal; her own commentary on the Bhagavad Gita and the Shiva Sutras; and Colony Earth & the Rig Veda. Her website is Metaphysical Musing.

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.

Mushroom Clouds

Psychedelic-Vision

When the world arises in me,
It’s just an illusion:
Water shimmering in the sun,
A vein of silver in mother-of-pearl,
A serpent in a strand of rope.

From me the world streams out
And in me it dissolves,
As a bracelet melts into gold,
A pot crumbles into clay,
A wave subsides into water.

I am God sounds a bit arrogant doesn’t it? How about this, I am God and so are you. Better? Well, only if you really understand the allegory. God is a concept that stands for that which we can’t identify. That which gives us life and co-creates this experience. Him, Her, It, the Force, Consciousness and many others names can symbolically be given to what some call God. I think it’s fair to say most have given up the thought that God is an old white bearded man in the sky, hopefully. Not all, and maybe not most. I do not personally know most people. I’ve only met a tiny percent of the world’s population, so most is mostly a useless word. Useless words shouldn’t be used. Too late now, but I’ll make a mental note about that. (Which would be useless as I can’t remember anything for very long anymore). (I just used useless again, didn’t I? I’ll never learn).

This Consciousness is in everything, absolutely everything, and in fact is all there really is. The last psychedelic trip I took was very interesting. I could see, feel and literally Be everything I saw. A rock, the wall, food. Everything was consciousness and I was connected intimately with everything I saw. I literally became that thing. Alas, explaining a trip to someone who’s never tripped is like explaining color to someone born blind. It’s impossible. But many might say, “Yes, but you were in a drug induced hallucination.” But no, it was a spiritual experience. Watch the movie DMT, The Spirit Molecule. Read how the Shamans used mushrooms. Catch up on some Terrence McKenna lectures. Better yet, take a trip if you’re an adult. You’ll never be the same again. (Don’t just find some stuff and take it, do it right, read up on it and have an experienced guide with you if possible. LSD is actually not the best for this, but it’s the easiest to get and will work just fine. Disclaimer: I did not just endorse hallucinogenic drugs, that was just your interpretation and twisting of my words. (Shame on you, implying and what not). :P

Or just start meditating, that is the slow way, but it will get you there. You will understand that reality is mostly made up of beliefs. Belief that an object is solid is the biggest illusion. It’s a mostly empty spaced atoms vibrating at a speed that makes it impossible to pass your hand through it. But it is not solid. And all ‘matter,’ including us, is connected to the invisible force I prefer to call Consciousness. There is no time, that’s also an illusion, a tool that helps humans function, but it’s not real. It would seem that Consciousness is flickering off and on, pulsating eternally, folding and unfolding into Itself, allowing us to experience that which is Ourselves. We are like a computer and Consciousness is like the server. We are like a virtual reality game. Reality too is evolving, and we will always be a part of it. Death is an illusion that only exists in the minds of the living. There is no end to existence. Don’t you think it odd that you exist right now, in this time, but never did before and never will again? It just doesn’t work like that.

Science and physicists know the nature of reality isn’t grounded in their fundamental materialism that they seem to be stuck in. Until mainstream science takes the leap and admits publically that there is a Force that animates us things will not change, but evolution by nature betters itself, so the time will come when we realize the system of fiat money and dependence on material things hurts us. It might be 10 years or 100 years or a thousand years. The reason the flimsy paradigm of science isn’t changing quicker is because of the fucking 5oo year persecution of the church. That resulted in science setting itself up us only materialistic with spirituality strictly taboo. Religion and science were once one entity. In ancient Egypt, they KNEW there was no death. They KNEW intuitively, from direct experience, not belief, that death was an illusion. They didn’t even have a word for death. The Hindus call the ‘dead’ the disappeared. They are still here, but their body has disappeared. The Buddha said everything is an illusion, the Hindus called illusion Maya. Mysticism and science do belong together.

To get your knowledge of reality from a religious book issued by a government for the purpose of control is insane. Words written by other humans are not to be worshipped. The meaning of the words have been lost anyways. The ‘Jew Peter’ is mythically ‘Jupiter,’ (and mystically something else long forgotten, or driven underground or out of existence), but it’s a form of chasing your own shadow. I.E. The statue in Rome of Peter is an old statue of Zeus, or Jupiter, right in plain sight and we don’t/won’t see it. Belief over rides reality. (Kennedy’s head went backward and part of his brain landed on the trunk, yet they say he was shot from behind AND called it a MAGIC bullet, and people believed). We really need to stop and analyze our beliefs. We can learn that we assign a belief to everything. There is nothing in our reality but beliefs, illusions, and not knowing this is hurting us, not helping. We need both a  spirituality based on reality and a “material experience” to be fully Human. Our purpose is to evolve and become Love. To realize our full potential, or better said, Remember our full potential, as it seems we had it at one time and lost it. That paradigm will come, I predict, when science makes that long awaited announcement to the public about what it already suspects.  Many PhDs are speaking out even now (but mainstream ain’t having anything to do with it yet), and their theories are harshly ridiculed by their peers. Stubborn and stupid, indeed it is. Oh well, it’s all in cycles. A circular circus. Like the snake biting it’s own tail.

Search for the Mind of God

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Stephen Hawking famously ended his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time with the statement that, if and when physics finds its long-sought grand unified field theory “we would know the mind of God.”1 Although since then he has reportedly regretted the phrase, and famously announced in 2010 that “God did not create the universe,” his original statement was – knowingly or not – in fact simply a repetition of the underlying quest of the historical scientific revolution.

All its great pioneers, from Copernicus to Newton, were motivated by the passionate belief that by discovering the way the universe works they were not only uncovering God’s design, but also taking humankind closer to the divine. Science was for them primarily a spiritual quest. And, given the evidence, that’s precisely what it should be now.

Despite rather desperately cowering behind the wall of strident rationalism most of them are famous for, the startling truth is that cosmologists and quantum physicists themselves have revealed that the mind of God may be much nearer than we think. Science itself has effectively proven that ours is not a random universe. Science itself has demonstrated it was literally designed for life, which implies a designer… But as science itself – in general – is rather backward in coming forward about this, permit us to explain.

The sensational conclusion that the universe appears to be meant began to be formulated with the famous ‘anthropic principle’ brought to the attention of the scientific community at the end of the 1970s by the seminal Nature paper by British cosmologists Bernard Carr and Martin Rees. The latter, now Lord Rees – Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society until 2010 – recently attracted the disdain of many colleagues by accepting the annual million-pound Templeton Foundation prize awarded for an “outstanding contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” Quite something for a mainstream scientist – and of course hugely controversial.

The Designer Universe

At its most basic, the anthropic principle states that all the cosmological data shows the laws of physics are, to an uncanny degree, exactly the ones needed for a bio-friendly universe. According to Paul Davies’ book The Goldilocks Enigma (2006) conditions are, like her porridge, “just right” for organic life. It needs precisely our kind of universe: relatively stable, with galaxies and stars – and this was by no means inevitable: if things were even slightly different matter could never have coalesced, or the universe would be riddled with black holes, preventing the formation of heavenly bodies. Life requires certain chemical elements, primarily carbon, which need stars to manufacture them and disperse them in their supernovae explosions. It also needs planets where the building blocks can be assembled for living beings to develop.

All this requires not only fundamental particles and energies to possess particular values, but the relationships between them must be very precise. Carr and Rees noted that for almost every variation of the physical laws, a bio-friendly universe would be impossible. Yet as Hawking writes, “a series of startling coincidences” make the laws of physics “a system that is extremely fine-tuned” to produce conditions propitious for life.2 Freeman Dyson, the British-born American physicist, writes that there are “numerical accidents that seem to conspire to make the universe habitable,”3 while Paul Davies notes the “ingenious and seemingly contrived ways”4 the laws of physics allow the creation and dispersal of the elements necessary for life – and that we appear to live in a “designer universe.”

More astoundingly, as all the values were ‘set’ by the big bang – if the conditions at the start of the universe had been say, bigger and bangier or smaller and less bangy (sorry for the technical terms), the physical laws would also be different – then life seems to have been an integral part of the design from the very beginning.

One of the first examples of the fine-tuning to be recognised, back in the 1950s, is the formation of carbon – quintessential to organic life – which like all except the simplest three elements is forged in the centre of stars. However, scientists had long realised that according to conventional wisdom, carbon shouldn’t exist at all (or if it did it should be extremely rare). Even the vast temperatures and pressure in stars shouldn’t produce enough energy for stable atoms to form. But we now know there is a lucky fluke – a quantum effect known as resonance – which produces a ‘spike’ that enormously amplifies the energy to exactly the right value. This only happens for carbon.

The scientist who worked out the process, the maverick British astronomer and mathematician Fred Hoyle, was so astonished by the coincidence that he famously described it as a “put-up job.” In a 1957 lecture he observed:

If this was a purely scientific problem and not one that touched on the religious problem, I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents.5

The most recently-discovered example of fine tuning is perhaps the most compelling. This relates to ‘vacuum energy,’ a force arising from ‘virtual particles’ that fill even empty interstellar space, and which has a profound effect on the universe, since it determines its rate of expansion and this in turn determines how life-friendly it is. If the universe was expanding too quickly, then gravity would be unable to build galaxies, planets and stars; if too slowly, then all matter would be pulled back to the ‘big crunch’ before life had time to evolve. Obviously, our universe is expanding within that critically narrow range that allows it to be bio-friendly. But only recently has it been discovered how narrow – indeed, wafer-thin – that range is.

It all hangs on the rate of expansion, determined by the balance between the negative and positive energy of the virtual particles. In the mid-1990s, based on new improved data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other sources, cosmologists were finally able to calculate the balance. It turns out that the negative energy cancels out all but an infinitesimal amount of the positive – all but 10120 (that’s 119 zeroes after the decimal point and before the 1).

But the scary thing is that if this number was just one decimal place shorter – 10119 – then the universe would be expanding too quickly: there would be no stars and no planets. That tiny decimal place is the difference between life and no-life. The leading American theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind wrote: “This seems like an absurd accident and we have no idea why it should happen. There is no fine-tuning quite like this in the rest of physics.”6 Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg commented in 1993 that if the extraordinary balancing act of the vacuum energy was confirmed then, “it will be reasonable to infer that our own existence plays an important part in explaining why the universe is the way it is,” but went on, “For what it is worth, I hope that this is not the case.”7 Unfortunately for Weinberg, it has since been confirmed. It is the case.

It’s rather like winning the lottery (we assume). If our numbers come up we might think we’re clever or destined to win but of course it would be just chance. Not so long ago astrophysicists assumed that’s how it was with life: the right conditions just happened by accident. But the anthropic principle has shown that the game appears to have been fixed – as if only our numbers went into the machine. We couldn’t lose. In fact, the ‘coincidences’ involved in the universal fine tuning are so vast it’s more like winning the lottery week after week for several years.

Of course this was unthinkable for most scientists – after all, design implies a designer – so they desperately searched for a get-out clause. Susskind duly came up with the now-ubiquitous multiverse as a way out of the anthropic conundrum: the theory that there are really billions – perhaps an infinity – of universes, each with its own physical laws (since conditions at the big bang were different for each one). The vast majority don’t possess life, but because we live in one of the few that does, we are mistakenly over-impressed by the coincidence that it is spot on for us.

The multiverse hypothesis turns the virtually improbable into the inevitable. This time it’s like entering our lottery numbers into several billion games simultaneously. We’re bound to scoop the jackpot at least once. The multiverse allowed scientists uncomfortable with the implications of the anthropic principle to breathe a sigh of relief.

There is, however, a major problem with the multiverse – and its exotic brother theories, string and M. There’s not a shred of evidence for any of it. Ironically it’s a fundamental aspect of the multiverse that there can never be any, since interaction between universes is by definition impossible. Which also conveniently makes the theory impossible to disprove. As Carr wrote in 2007, the multiverse “is highly speculative and… currently untestable. Indeed, it may always remain so…”8

It gets worse. Being untestable means it violates one of science’s cardinal rules – that any hypotheses should be capable of being tested by experiment or observation. At best the multiverse is an interesting speculation, a possible but unprovable answer to the conundrum of the anthropic principle. But the majority of physicists take it as the answer to their prayers. If indeed they ever admit to praying.

It’s easy to understand why. Hawking, for example, has acknowledged it’s a straight choice between intelligent design (begging the awkward question of the designer) and the multiverse.9 Naturally he champions the latter, as do most of his colleagues, keen to look cool and cutting-edge, and beguiled by the seduction of endless equations – even if by definition they can never lead anywhere or prove anything.

The Anti-Science of the Multiverse

One of the key principles of every other area of science is that it is contingent, the consensus at any time being based on the best data, but with the underlying acknowledgement that future discoveries may lead to major revisions. But here we have hard data pointing directly to a designer universe – and yet the overwhelming majority of scientists prefer to accept the entirely speculative and untestable multiverse, just because one day they might find a way of proving it. In other words, they accept it on faith, their belief in a non-designed universe blinding them to the overwhelming evidence for one that is obviously designed, and that science itself now points to.

The anthropic principle has been conceptually divided between the ‘weak’ version (the universe appears to be designed for intelligent life, but this is an illusion) and the ‘strong’ version (the universe appears to be designed for us because it is). Enter the American John Archibald Wheeler (1926-2008), one of the most eminent modern theoretical physicists, discoverer of black holes and originator of the concept of space-time wormholes, who came up with a new spin: the “participatory anthropic principle.”

Wheeler developed the concept as the logical extrapolation of another weird aspect of quantum physics, the implications of which few other physicists have dared explore. It is accepted that by observing events at the quantum level they will inevitably be changed by the act of observation. The outcome of a particular experiment often depends on how the experimenter chooses to make the observation – in effect theyassign particular values to a subatomic particle.

This is seen most famously in the ‘double slit experiment’, where the experimenter can ‘choose’ whether a beam of light behaves as a particle or a wave even when only a single photon is involved. Bizarre though it might seem, a fundamental principle of quantum theory is that the photon does not take a single path, but takes every possible path simultaneously. They exist as a series of probabilities (‘wave functions’), and only when an observation is made does the wave function ‘collapse’ and the photon take a specific position. As Wheeler declared (his emphasis): “Each photon is governed by laws of probability and behaves like a cloud until it is detected… The act of measurement is the transforming act that collapses uncertainty into certainty.”10 On a much wider scale, every particle in the universe exists as a wave function, ‘waiting’ to be given specific values by being observed.

Wheeler showed that it wasn’t just a question of the experimenter determining through observation how a particle behaves now. In the double-slit experiment choosing how the photon is observed after it has passed through the slit produces the same effect. The observer effectively chooses how the particle behaved in the past – maybe only microseconds ago, but in the past nevertheless (‘backward causation’).

Initially Wheeler’s proposal could only be a thought experiment as the technology allowing a choice to be made in the infinitesimally small period while a photon is in ‘flight’ wasn’t available. But in 2006 a French team devised a method of experimenting for real. Wheeler was proved right.

He then realised the same effect could be obtained if light from a distant star was involved, but the observer on Earth would be ‘choosing’ how a photon behaved when it set out on its journey thousands, maybe millions, of light years ago. The observer effect must be truly cosmic in scale. He then developed the notion of the “participatory universe” – by observing the universe, we are actually creating it, not just now but in the past. In short, we are determining the initial conditions set by the big bang. Physicists aren’t discovering the laws of physics – they are creating them. As he noted: “The past history of the universe has no more validity then is assigned by the measurements we make – now!”11 And in a somewhat Star Trekky soundbite he declared: “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.”12

In Wheeler’s vision, human consciousness (and that of any other sentient beings out there) is an integral part of cosmic evolution. The big bang creates the subatomic particles from which galaxies, stars and planets are built. Life forms on planets and evolves to produce intelligent, conscious beings, who through their active observation actually manifest the big bang itself, “the mechanism of genesis.”13 (Wheeler pointed out that this disposes of the multiverse: if consciousness is needed to make the universe, thenonly a universe such as ours, with its conscious living beings, can exist.)

In other words, there is a circular relationship between mind and the universe – human consciousness is in some way necessary for its completion: the universe is evolving from a starting point towards some end, and mind plays a key part in that process. As Bernard Carr commented: “Wheeler has suggested a more radical interpretation [of the anthropic principle] in which the universe does not even come into being in a well-defined way until an observer is produced who can perceive it. In this case, the veryexistence of the universe depends on life.”14

Although to the casual reader this might seem somewhat off the wall, Wheeler’s logic holds up – and, unlike the multiverse, its predictions have been tested experimentally – winning acceptance from other prominent physicists. Among them is Stephen Hawking, who writes in The Grand Design: “We create history by our observation, rather than history creating us.”15 If Wheeler is right, then we play a part in the grand design implied by the anthropic principle. And if for ‘designer’ we read ‘God’, then we are, at least in part, God, or have a share in God’s mind.

Back to the Future

Perhaps the oddest – and most satisfying – aspect of this is how Wheeler’s participatory universe dovetails with the beliefs of the ancients, as Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch (1929-80) noted. Based on the mass of evidence for cosmic purpose, he developed the concept of the ‘self-organising universe’, very similar to Wheeler’s. To him, the universe, through its components – including conscious beings – determines its own evolution. He wrote, “God is not the creator, but the mind of the universe.”16 But although acknowledging that the self-organising universe was prefigured in many mystical religious systems, Jantsch singled out one in particular: “the oldest recorded world view, Hermetic philosophy.”17

Bingo! In fact we had pinpointed the very same tradition while researching our latest book, The Forbidden Universe, as the inspiration for all the great heroes of the scientific revolution: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, William Harvey, William Gilbert, Isaac Newton – even the allegedly arch-rationalist Francis Bacon.

The Hermetic system is a metaphysical and magical philosophy and cosmology contained in a collection of texts known as the Hermetica, ascribed to a legendary Egyptian teacher, Hermes Trismegistus (‘Thrice-Great Hermes’). These writings, of which around twenty survive out of a much larger body, were set down in Egypt during the period of Greek domination, some time after the third century BCE.

They were largely lost to Europe after the crackdown on pagan scholarship when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century CE. But they survived in the Middle East (where they actually laid the foundations of medieval Arab science), and were rediscovered by Europe in the mid-fifteenth century by an agent working for the great patron of learning, Cosimo de’ Medici – the event that actually triggered the Renaissance.

As we show in The Forbidden Universe, not only did the Hermetica go on to be the driving force behind the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but it also – somewhat spookily – outlines a cosmology that fits very neatly with Wheeler’s and Jantsch’s. (This may not be entirely coincidental, as Wheeler’s great philosophical hero was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [1646-1716], the extraordinary intellect and contemporary of Newton, who, like him, was steeped in the Hermetic tradition – although it was expedient to downplay his interest in matters esoteric.)

The Hermetica, too, celebrated the universe as an emanation of the mind of God, declaring: “… you must think of god in this way, as having everything – the cosmos, himself, the universe – like thoughts within himself.”18 American historian of science Ernest Lee Tuveson sums up the fundamental Hermetic principle: “the world emanates from the divine intelligence, and, as a whole in which each part is an essential component member, expresses the great Mind.”19 And modern Hermetic specialist, American philosopher Glenn Alexander Magee, writes: “Hermeticists not only hold that God requires creation, they make a specific creature, man, play a crucial role in God’s self-actualisation. Hermeticism holds that man can know God, and that man’s knowledge of God is necessary for God’s own completion.”20 Back to Wheeler’s participatory universe…

In the Hermetic cosmology, the universe is God, everything in it is an emanation of God’s mind, and human beings play a necessary part in God’s self-actualisation. In Wheeler’s, consciousness plays a fundamental role in actualising the universe.

But where did the writers of the Hermetic treatises get their ideas? Renaissance devotees of their philosophy believed it encapsulated the highest wisdom of the ancient Egyptian civilisation, that of the pyramid builders themselves. In later centuries there was a more critical view: the texts might have been written in Egypt, but owed more to Greek ideas. However, recent research shows that – while written for a Greek audience – the Hermetic books do indeed contain traditional Egyptian religious and cosmological ideas. In fact, there a compelling case that they came from the most ancient known Egyptian cult: the religion of Heliopolis, as set out in the Pyramid Texts, the oldest magical writings in the world. And as it was indeed the religion of the builders of the great pyramids of Giza, this would vindicate the beliefs of the Renaissance Hermeticists.

In their complex and highly symbolic system, the Pyramid Texts too reveal many parallels with Wheeler’s participatory universe. According to the Heliopolitan theology the cosmos is an emanation flowing out from the creator-god, Atum, expanding from a single point of origin outward to the material world. But it, too, involves a flow from ourselves back to the moment of creation. As specialist in the Heliopolitan religion, American anthropologist Karl Luckert puts it, the universe not only “exhales” from Atum but “inhales.” We might need Atum/God, but he needs us.

So perhaps instead of tying themselves in the knots of string theory and abandoning themselves to the siren seduction of the non-existent multiverse, scientists would be better advised to read the Hermetica. After all, they would only be following in the footsteps of intellectual giants. But they should be warned: there is a creative consciousness involved, as science itself shows. It is a fact: face it. But we must stress that while this ‘god’ bears no resemblance whatsoever to the petty tyrant of the Old Testament, he/she/it is not too hard to find. Simply start the quest with a mirror.

Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince are the authors of the book The Forbidden Universe: The Occult Origins Of Science And The Search For The Mind Of God (Constable, 2011), available from all good bookstores.

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Footnotes:
1. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Press, London, 1988, 175.

2. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, Bantam Press, London, 161.

3. Freeman J. Dyson, A Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 2007, 44.

4. Paul Davies, The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning, Penguin, London, 1993, 197.

5. In Mervyn Stockwood (ed.), Religion and the Scientists, SCM Press, London, 1959, 64.

6. Leonard Susskind, ‘A Universe Like No Other’, New Scientist, no. 2419, 2003, 37.

7. Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Hutchinson, London, 1993, 182.

8. Bernard Carr, Universe of Multiverse?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, 14.

9. In the Sunday Times’ Eureka magazine, September 2010.

10. John Archibald Wheeler and Kenneth Ford, Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1998, 334.

11. Ibid., 337.

12. On ‘The Anthropic Universe’, The Science Show, ABC National Radio, 18 February 2006.

13. John Archibald Wheeler, ‘Genesis and Observership’, in Robert E. Butts and Jaakko Hintikka (eds.), Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1977.

14. B.J. Carr, ‘On the Origin, Evolution and Purpose of the Physical Universe’, in John Leslie (ed.), Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, Macmillan, New York, 1990, 152.

15. Hawking and Mlodinow, op. cit., 140.

16. Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1980, 308.

17. Ibid., 308.

18. Brian P. Copenhaver, Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992, 41.

19. Ernest Lee Tuveson, The Avatars of Thrice Great Hermes, Bucknell University Press, London, 1982, xi.

20. Glenn Alexander Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2001, 9.

About the Author

LYNN PICKNETT & CLIVE PRINCE’s joint career began with Turin Shroud: How Leonardo Da Vinci Fooled History and – eight books later – they published The Forbidden Universe. They are best known for their 1997 The Templar Revelation, which Dan Brown acknowledged as the primary inspiration for The Da Vinci Code. As a reward for their contribution they were given cameos in the movie (on the London bus). They also give talks to an international audience. Lynn & Clive both live in South London. Their website is www.picknettprince.com.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 127 (July-August 2011).

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Passion of Sophia – Gnostic Creation

crucifiction-in-light-ramon-martinez
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

angel-image

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.

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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.

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