Art is much more important than the average person realizes it to be — despite the saying that ‘art is what man makes, and nature is what God makes.’ I would prefer to say that nature is what God makes as God, and art is what God makes as man. The artist who has arrived at some perfection in his art, whatever his art may be, will come to realize that it is not he who ever achieved anything; it is
Sometimes a death can occur, likened to the dark night of the soul, which is not the death of the body, but the end of the old way of being in the world and an awakening to a new and greater life. This way of being has always been there, were we but able to see beyond our “separate self”.
Robert Prizeman, musical director of the choirband, Libera, set to music the poem ”Do not stand at my grave and weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.”
– Mary Elizabeth Frye
“Someone asked, “Why is there suffering?” Baba gave this succinct reply: Suffering is essential for the elimination of the ego, just as it was necessary for you to scrub and scrub in order to wash the stain from my coat.”
“What hinders men from seeing and hearing God, is their own hearing, seeing and willing; by their own wills they separate themselves from the will of God. They see and hear within their own desires, which obstructs them from seeing and hearing God. Terrestrial and material things overshadow them, and they cannot see beyond their own human nature. If they would be still, desist from thinking and feeling with their own self-hood, subdue the self-will, enter into a state of resignation, into a divine union with Christ, who sees God, and hears God, and speaks with him, who knows the word and will of God; then would the eternal hearing seeing and speaking become revealed to them.” – Jacob Boehme
Theosophy Watch recently posted this video from a series called the Living Matrix.
Lierre Kieth, (author of The Vegetarian Myth), had a peek moment when she began critically examining mounting evidence against vegetarianism. Having been a vegan for 20 years, this was a radical change.
I was accumulating information that fit into my belief system about how life is. Every time I got information that didn’t fit in, I set that aside; so I ended up with gaps in my consciousness. … One of the things about being a vegan is it is not about what you eat, it’s about who you are, and that makes it really hard to examine new information… it is a threat to who you are…
Listening to her inspired me to critically look at how we decide what is true and how we regulate our lives by what we believe to be true. When we adopt a certain set of “truisms” we could call it a belief system, especially if a group of people hold the same opinions. One of the things about a belief system is that is puts a context in our mind about who we think we are. This can give a sense of identity, security, comfort and community in knowing we are correct in our thoughts and hopefully our actions.
The problem with this kind of comfortable arrangement is that it tends to deter some of us from examining other belief systems and new information. When these paradigms are different from what we believe to be true we may decide to discard it as not true and to ignore new information.
On the other hand, with more and more information and new thought we may wonder if what we believe is actually “the truth”. This may lead us to ask; can there be different truths depending on circumstances? This type of questioning can create in us a kind of spiritual crisis; in some cases it threatens who we believe we are. It may require that we make radical changes in our thinking and in turn how we are on our world in order to find that inner balance with our true self.
Should you consider these questions, you may start to recapitulate and examine how you think about things. You may ask yourself “How did I come to this assumption of what I believe to be true?”
As humans we naturally like to categorize things and store knowledge in a certain way, to form what we conceive to be true. We use already known facts to bring together and form new and innovative thought. Most of us can say that we have a memory and the ability to retrieve information; we can come to a synthesis of that information and build new concepts based on what we have learned.
What if the stored information was relevant at the time but it isn’t as relevant now. Could we say that the paradigm of our reality has shifted? Or to put it more clearly, “What was the context of our awareness when we decided that was true? How has it changed?”
For a specific random example;
I might ask myself, what point in my life was I at when I decided “Old women are useless and a drain on society”. Was I twenty and in my prime, raging hormones, intellectually sharp, beautiful and full of ambition? Was it when I was turning sixty-five feeling the effects of aging on the body, working in a world of younger people, not thinking quite so clearly and facing the prospect of retiring? You might also consider; has the view of society changed about this situation, has there been a general paradigm shift and why?
It seems that what we think to be true is influenced by our environment, social climate, ancestors, belief systems, the specific needs at that time and more.
What then is true? Is anything really true, or is truth constantly shifting and moving within our awareness paradigms. What I’m asking here is – “Is truth absolute and unmoving, a final conclusion so to speak or is it something that changes?
Jean Houston writes: YOU have to follow your heart now with all the courage and conviction of a hero, no matter how many dragons and enemies to your happiness you have to overcome along the way! Otherwise, somebody or something else might follow your heart for you, and pass you up in your own journey. Not staying true to yourself is akin to abandoning your own personal evolution to natural degradation and psychic entropy. The Feminine Paradigm
Jean Houston is saying that not being true to yourself is abandoning your own personal evolution it’s degrading your self-worth and creating an atrophy of the ability to be uncontrived and natural in the moment.
We know that as time moves on we have an accumulation of knowledge and a record of what happened. That record of what happened seems to be told differently in history, by the winners and by the losers, by cultural points of view and by the ability to communicate.
H.P. Blavatsky is quoted as saying; There is no religion higher than truth. Indeed this is the motto that has been adopted by the modern Theosophical movement.
What is truth? Can we talk about truth as facts and knowledge or is it something else?
Could it be that truth is actually the “sweet spot” that we hit on a moving target? Is it about coming to the moment with exactly the awareness and concentration required to “hit the right spot on the tennis swing”, or bring to the moment the exact response required at that point in time?
Have you ever wondered if what we are doing now will affect what we will experience in the after death states and beyond?
The order of the universe repeats itself in all the states that we experience. The after death states, the meditative states, the dream states and the waking state are all part of a whole. The great division that we assume exists between waking and dreaming or life and death, is an illusion brought on by our limited awareness which reduces our ability to perceive the real state of things on all levels of being. If we understood that it is an awareness issue, it would greatly change the way in which we act during daily existence. Everything we do, say, and think is reflected in our states or planes of being to be “recorded” there as a form of energy.
With the lapse of organize religions to help people to understand their place in the world as spiritual beings and to guide people towards their individual spiritual awakening and to foster brotherhood on a global level, the mainstream of the population have fallen away. Some people no longer believe in the worth of a religious point of view and have dropped routine spiritual practice rituals, prayer, meditation and socialization with others to help one another to maintain a good life. With this absence of regular spiritual practice and connectedness to something higher than themselves comes a lack of awareness of conscience, the recognition of good over bad and helping one another out of love and justice. With this lack of spiritual connectedness to the great whole, people feel free to do what they want without consequence.
This state of disconnection is proven to us over and over. Over indulgence runs rampant, as is shown in the amount of debt we are piling up, the amount of time spent watching TV, internet gaming and the philosophy that “its all about me”, the “self improvement” regimes which are designed to enhance personal power. And what is even more remarkable, we are even allowed to claim bankruptcy and start all over again as if nothing happened when things go amiss.
I would really hate to claim bankruptcy in the after death state; my over indulgent life being worth nothing and being thrown away, nothing accomplished except a black carbon footprint on the astral plane. Would I have to abandon this lifetime, as if it never was and let the consequence fall into the astral atmosphere to add to the horrible pollution that exists there?
And where would I be in all of this, where is the real individual? Am I residing as a spiritual being with no memory of this chance at a lifetime, with no merit added from this last lifetime lived, no carryover of a good life lived to pattern the next one?
I know that H.P. Blavatsky (Secret Doctrine) says that a life lived and lost in this way is erased from, what she likens to the “necklace of pearls”; each pearl represents a past lifetime lived and is the accumulated wisdom and merit gained by the essential self. She goes on the say that the essential, higher self does a complete disconnect with the earthly entity if there is not a spark of spiritual awareness left in the self-absorbed “shell “of a human being; it is left to run its course as a soulless entity.
Blotting out a lifetime which had no merit and in which the earth incarnated man had done a complete disconnect from his/her “essential being” doesn’t ring true to me. In the law of ecology, nothing is lost, the energy only changes state as I understand it. So then we would have to consider all the astral shells, (the leftovers we might call them) visible and felt in the astral realm (to which we are connected during incarnation, after death states, dreams, trances, etc.) that we may be connected to in some way because we produced them.
It seems to me that Karma still comes into play here; the feeling of being willfully disconnected to the highest essential part of our nature, our link with the whole, has to have some future consequence. It seems logical to me that there is definitely something to be learned here and some consequence for our self-absorbed lifetime which is leaving a black footprint on the astral plane. Who has to do the house cleaning here?
The answer is – we all do on both an individual level and a group level.
Look at the economic state of the world, virtually every country is suffering from debt. Over spending, bankruptcy, greed and will to power have created a situation which is affecting all of us.
Is it any different on the personal level? We are all having to live in an atmosphere littered with virtually “soulless beings”, the direct result of such irresponsible lifetimes lived. We are victims of an environment which we have all contributed to in some way over the course of lifetimes. Have you ever wondered about that “spook” that keeps chasing you in your dreams, those weird guys who are “lurking around the corner” waiting to get you?
I fear a lot of people now are suffering this fate. A lot of people have chosen not to follow a specific religious or spiritual path, are separated from Truth, Love and Wisdom and feel that there is no consequence for their actions.
It seems to me that the masses would be better served to believe in some form of spirit based teachings which will guide the individual to discover his/her true nature – a “spark of the divine over soul”, to lead a good life and is inclusive of all beings.
Not everyone is intellectually capable of the Jnana Path, the path of knowledge, which the Theosophical outlook seems to follow. A lot of people could grasp the Bhakti path, pure spiritual devotion to the divine and to leading a good life – if they believed in it.
It would seem to make sense to combine the two paths, the path of knowledge and the path of devotion to form a spiritual path which everyone can follow at whatever level is right for their individual spiritual awakening. The important thing is to lay a foundation for leading a good life, truthful, loving and free.
True occultism is the destruction of the false idea of self, and therefore true spiritual perception and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite ‘selves’ with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. HPB
So what does this mean? Blavatsky is saying that we have a false idea of who we are. We are capable of true spiritual perception and knowledge. That spiritual perception and knowledge is obtained by breaking free of the illusion projected by the finite part of ourselves that is telling us that it is the real and only self there is; breaking free of this idea, we see that we are still alive and aware, but part of something far greater than the finite self could comprehend. She describes it as the Great All, and says that by identifying our finite selves with the Great All, and realizing the identification of all humanity with this as the source, we can make spiritual progress.
If we take what she is saying as true, I would not follow the transcendent path in which one wishes to escape the illusion of the earthly life and leave humanity behind. Where is the spiritual progress going to happen if it is not a process of becoming fully awake and enlightened here on earth, a blend of the finite self and the highest part of oneself which is a ray of the Great All; the awakening of the finite self to its source, truly an incarnation of spirit into matter.
Isn’t that the message of all the great spiritual teachers of humanity; the divine incarnation of spirit in man? It goes back to ancient Egypt and is reignited in the teachings of Christ.
I always loved the teachings of Buddha, but I felt uneasy about the idea of Nirvana being the ultimate transcendence. It states that we lose our individuality with a blending into the one reality. HPB states that we retain our individuality throughout Manvantaras of time. Lately I have come to realize that although some Buddhist believe Nirvana to be eternal, others say that it is only a cul de sac, a temporary state, all be it an amazing state of being and spiritual accomplishment. So even in Buddhism then, it is about the divine incarnation of spirit into matter; or “the complete identification of our finite selves with the Great All”.
In theosophy we have spoken about the different aspects man’s constitution, and said that Kama Manas is the Lower Mind and Emotional psychic self which makes up the personality; Manas in its purity is the Higher Mind and the link to the divine nature in man, our link to the logos; the word, our link to all humanity in our deepest essence. Seeing this, one can understand that the divine incarnation is not “a happening” at all, it’s a fact that already exists within ourselves.
Lights and colours flash across the scene; the changing sky, the glimmer on the water, the moving air, the waving trees and rushes. Do we paint what we see or do we try to capture the energy behind the moment? Trying to express something like the mood of the scene, the crispness of the winter cold, the sultriness of a hot summer day, the wildness of fierce winds, makes us stretch our consciousness from the tangible to the intangible. We know it, feel it and hold it in our consciousness while we try to express that which is felt only by the intuition.
The artist instinctively knows when he has it right or wrong. When it is wrong there is a sense of nervous restlessness, frustration and struggle; but when it’s right, oh then he knows it; the work of art has something that gives us a feeling of harmony, a truth to it, and nothing else has to be done. It is finished.
There is an aesthetic sense in play here, where we humans know when it’s harmonious, complete and right and it has nothing to do with the subject matter. This intuitive sense is part of the essential spiritual self and a larger whole, it’s a connection with a consciousness beyond our everyday narrative of the mind.
The artist has a huge advantage when he enters the spiritual path. Every picture is a meditation, a focus of consciousness in which he/she is searching for perfection and harmony.
A. Lismer writes of Tom Thomson:
“He saw a thousand things – animals and birds, and signs along the trail that others missed. He knew where to find subjects – a stretch of muskeg, a fine stand of pine with possibilities for the kind of thing he wanted to paint. He could drop a line in places, and catch a fish where other experienced fishermen had failed. He identified a bird song, and noted changes in the weather. He could find his way over open water to a portage or a camp on a night as black as ink. It was this sense of awareness and significance of simple sights and sounds, his uncanny sensitivity carried over into his paintings and sketching that gave the authentic tang to his work.”
“Authentic tang”, I like that expression. I shall strive for authentic tang in my work.
A local hostess, well known to serve large delicious meals of self pity, complete with several courses of hurt, rejection, self concern and loneliness, suddenly and without warning refused to serve a well known Elemental who had come in for his daily meal.
The elemental was “a regular” and had arrived as usual during the quiet hours when there was less activity in the restaurant. Sitting down in its usual place, a quiet table in the area of the heart, it asked for “the usual”, a dinner it had ordered regularly without a problem.
The hostess, having a sudden surge of self awareness, recognized the elemental for what it was. “You are a vampire”, she screamed as she quickly stopped the flow of energy which had already started to leach into the Elemental’s mouth.
Apparently, an informant* had “ratted” on the Elemental. He said that the elemental had disguised itself and attached to the unsuspecting hostess during several unfortunate incidences of loss. It was using her energy not only to maintain its vitality but to send “negative energy” out into the community in “a fishing scheme” with the hopes of finding others who might be opening a similar restaurant.
The Elemental screamed that it was unfair and that she had served him on a daily basis before. In fact he said that he had become so close to her it was like a common law relationship. Then he tried to convince her that she should serve up a large portion of guilt and remorse when she realized that her friends had been terrorized too.
The hostess quickly realized that the elemental had simply chosen another item from the menu. She refused to serve him, in any way and showed him the door vowing to reveal his identity to the public along with his “viral like scam” which was poisoning the community.
*C.W. Leadbeater – Astral Plain
I have just read a book by A.E. Powell called “The Astral Body”. It’s actually a series of quotes from Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Besant and others. I rarely read Besant and Leadbeater, preferring to stick to Blavatsky for the purest teachings, however this seems to be a good compilation on the subject. I did credit this information in the blog, by using the term “the informant” , to Leadbeater, however I could have used Blavatsky or Besant, as both have also written extensively on this subject.
One of the chapters in the book, talks about thought forms. An impersonal thought perhaps about mathematics or science, etc. would be a purely mental thought form. On the other hand if the thought has in it something of a personal nature, desire, etc. it draws around it an Kama manasic elemental essence in addition to the mental, If it is of a spiritual divine nature, tinged with love, unselfishness and aspiration towards spiritual things, it may even have something of the Buddhic plane in it.
When a thought is produced by us, it is energetically carried by something called an “Elemental”. The Elemental is like an energy bundle; the combination of thought and energy is called a thought form. Since our brains are thinking all the time, we are constantly emitting thought forms of all kinds. When we walk down the street or are with others, we are in a sea of thought forms from others. Thought forms are attracted to other thoughts of the same vibration, we exchange them with others all the time.
When we respond to the mood of the moment, be it harmonizing, cheerful, energetic, or discordant, angry, emotional, we are actually “reading” the astral atmospheric conditions which are produced by the though forms of others.
The Hostess in this metaphor represents any one of us who has suffered loss and unfortunate events in life, on which a great deal of emotionally charged thoughts have been centered. At a certain time of the day, regularly, these thoughts well up, triggered perhaps by a moment alone, and they fill her heart with negativity. The Hostess had been taking this time to think over the past and relive the situation, over and over again until she was exhausted. She thought that by doing this she was coming to some resolution of the past, but in reality that had not happened, and probably wasn’t going to happen, instead she was giving energy to the thought forms and keeping them alive.
One day she realized this, she decided it was time the end this cycle that was getting her nowhere. Not only was she recharging her negative thoughts, she was sending them out into the atmosphere of everyone around her, unconsciously affecting everyone who came in contact with her.
With her realization of what she was doing to others and herself, she resolves not the give these thoughts energy. For a moment she felt remorse when she realized how she had affected others, but quickly she saw that trap too. She stopped all negative thinking.
The moment of Self Awareness occurred when she actually saw her own cycle of negative thinking.
Anyone who has gone through periods of depression, has been overcome with angry thoughts, sadness, self pity or loneliness knows how very difficult it is to stop it. The Elemental thought forms have a great deal of energy, and not only that, they have an affinity to and gain strength from the thought forms of people around them who have similar issues.
Taking responsibility for how we think involves conscious positive effort. Replacing negativity with thoughts of love, harmony and peace can produce amazing results, not only for our own mental health and emotional well being, but for all the people we include in our circle of life.
The above blog is actually a metaphor, which points out that with Self Awareness we can stop a pattern of negativity. Self Awareness in this case would be achieved by reaching a state of consciousness where one could actually see one’s own thought patterns without falling into the entanglement of them.