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The Incarnation of God, 2: Many Mansions

“The crucifixion wasn’t really the hard thing for Jesus; the hard thing was incarnation.”  

THE PASSAGE ABOVE, attributed to the mystic Bernadette Roberts, sets the tone for this second in a series of three posts on the theme of the incarnation of Jesus, the son of God.  I continue from where my previous post left off sharing from Cynthia Bourgeault’s  beautiful and provocative book, THE WISDOM JESUS, Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message.  We came into Being in Heaven before coming into Human form on Earth, and our journeys here were anything but pleasant.  We fell into this illusive world “from a lighter gravitational field to a heavier one.” With this post I celebrate the Winter Solstice and the beginning of yet another solar cycle initiated by the increase of Light.  Enjoy.  

♦ ◊ ♦

“Many Dwelling Places”

We Christians still inhabit a rather small universe, metaphysically speaking. We know that we live here on earth, and some of us may believe that above it is a place called heaven, counterbalanced by a place down below called hell. At very best it’s a three-tiered universe. But the ancient wisdom traditions (now strongly reinforced, incidentally, by findings emerging from modern physics and cosmology) universally suggest that we need to throw this three-story world out; it is far too cramped to contain the vastness of divine consciousness. There are many realms, wisdom teaches: not just earth, heaven, and hell, but countless densities or dimensions of existence, all of which exist to manifest or mirror an aspect of the divine fullness. Jesus himself states this very clearly to the disciples in his farewell discourses in the Gospel of John, when he says, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places” (John 14:2). He does not mean physical places but rather states of consciousness or dimensions of divine energy (as we saw in chapter 3 with Jim Marion’s recognition that the “Kingdom of Heaven” was Jesus’s way of referring to nondual consciousness). The tradition of sophia perennis (perennial wisdom) pictures this vastness as a “great chain of being” or “ray of creation.” which begins in a pure, high-intensity, invisible, subtle consciousness and “descends,” thickening as it does so, into this world we inhabit: the realm of sharp edges and tables and chairs and human beings crashing and banging against each other in a finite and terribly solid world.

The contemporary Christian hermeticist Valentin Tomberg envisions this ray as a vast energetic cascade, beginning in divine consciousness itself and ending up in our familiar empirical universe. In Meditations on the Tarot he writes:

“Modern science has come to understand that matter is only condensed energy. Sooner or later science will also discover that what it calls energy is only condensed psychic force, which discovery will lead in the end to the establishment of the fact that all psychic force is the condensation, purely and simply, of consciousness; i.e., spirit.”

Like a mountain whose base is solidly on the earth but whose summit is hidden in the clouds, this insight leads us step by step up the ray of creation. Modern physics certainly would have no difficulty with the assertion that matter is only condensed energy; this is officially the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But what about this next realm, “psychic force”? Here the paths divide. This second form of energy is well known to spiritual seekers, but largely invisible to hardcore science; it is the energy flowing through prayer, attention, intention, and will: those more subtle exchanges which science has so far declined to measure but which we know have the power to create demonstrable effects in the physical realm.”

Beyond psychic force, yet another energetic realm awaits us, claims Tomberg, for psychic force is itself only the “condensation” (that is, the densification or coarser expression) of a substance incomparably more intense and subtle: pure spirit, pristine consciousness itself, unmediated by any form of expression. This primordial quality is known by many names in the tradition-“I AM” in Judeo-Christian tradition, wujud (“reality”) in mystical Islam, rigpa (“pristine awareness”) in Tibetan Buddhism. The names vary, but the understanding remains the same. Virtually unanimously, the ancient wisdom roadmaps picture the cosmos as a vast light stream, radiating out from the ineffable Godhead through the realm of primordial intention (known in Christianity as the logos), into archetypal form and energies, and finally into human, earthly becoming. Our life here in this physical cosmos is merely the endpoint of a long journey of what you might call “divine redshift”— that is, the condensation or cooling down of the intense energy of pure spirit in order to make physical manifestation possible.

Down Here on the Edge

So here we find ourselves on this plane of existence, at or near the bottom of the great chain of being. What are we to make of our position? What are we doing “down” here in a world that seems so dense and sluggish, so coarse and fragile and finite? Even in our dreams we move faster than the speed of light, and our mystics and visionaries are perpetually reminding us that in our heart of hearts we remember and yearn for a state of greater spaciousness and fluidity.

It’s curious, when you come to think about it, how virtually all the world’s spiritual traditions see this earthly realm as somehow deficient. Depending on the tradition, our world is either an illusion or a mistake, but in either case we “fall” into it, from a lighter gravitational field to a heavier one. We have seen how the Judeo-Christian tradition upholds this understanding in its primordial myth of the fall of Adam and Eve. Other traditions (primarily the Eastern ones) see this world as a mirage, an illusion to be dispelled. Still other traditions, such as mystical Islam, carry a profound sense of exile and a “nostalgia for the infinite.” Here is not home.

Is there another way of looking at this? I believe there is, and I think that it is actually at the heart of what is intended by that beautiful mantra, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” But it is so spiritually counterintuitive that it remains almost entirely unspoken — at least I myself have never heard it spoken or written about in any of the traditions. To the extent that what I am seeing here is correct, Christian wisdom steps out into unknown territory, leaving even sophia perennis behind.

Here is my take: Yes, this is a very heavy, frustrating, difficult density that we come into by taking birth in the human realm. Because of the binary, finite nature of both the physical world itself and the egoic operating system we use to navigate it, it seems as though we’re always bumping into sharp edges. Life presents us with a series of seemingly irrevocable choices: to do one thing means that we have to give up something else; to marry one person means we can’t marry another; and to join a monastery means we can’t marry at all. Our confused agendas clash both inwardly and outwardly, and we cause each other pain. Our bodies age; we diminish physically; loved ones fall out of our lives. And the force of gravity is tenacious, nailing our feet to the ground and usually our souls as well.  I remember my granddaughter, now five, who from the very moment she arrived on this planet expe­rienced an intense frustration bordering on fury at her inability to move. “What the hell?” she seemed to be saying as she flailed her little arms and legs and tried even at four months old to wriggle herself across the room. I have never seen a child who
felt the constriction of this planet as much as she did. 

Yes, we come into constriction, but is that the same as punishment! I believe not. I believe rather that this constriction is a sacrament and we have been offered a divine invitation to participate in it. 

Remember our discussion of sacrament at the beginning of this chapter! A sacrament reveals a mystery in a particularly intense way while at the same time offering the means for its actualization. And in this sphere of human life, the sacrament is finitude and the mystery is “I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known….” 

Notice that there is a subtle double meaning at work in this phrase. At one level “I loved to be known” is a synonym for “I longed to be known” (and the phrase is often translated that way). But you can read the words in another way: “I loved in order to be known”– and when you do, they reveal a deeper spiritual truth.  In order to become known to another, we must take the risk of loving that person, and this includes the real possibility of rejection and the even more painful prospect of heart­ break if the beloved is lost to us. It is difficult to risk love in a world so fragile and contingent. And yet, the greater the gamble of self-disclosure, the more powerful the intimacy and the more profound the quality of devotion revealed. 

Could it be like this for God as well? 

Could it be that this earthly realm, not in spite of but because of its very density and jagged edges, offers precisely the conditions for the expression of certain aspects of divine love that could become real in no other way? This world does indeed show forth what love is like in a particularly intense and cost­ly way. But when we look at this process more deeply, we can see that those sharp edges we experience as constriction at the same time call forth some of the most exquisite dimensions of love, which require the condition of finitude in order to make sense — qualities such as steadfastness, tenderness, commitment, forbearance, fidelity, and forgiveness. These mature and subtle flavors of love have no real context in a realm where there are no edges and boundaries, where all just flows. But when you run up against the hard edge and have to stand true to love anyway, what emerges is a most precious taste of pure divine love. God has spoken his most intimate name. 

Let me be very clear here. I am not saying that suffering exists in order for God to reveal himself. I am only saying that where suffering exists and is consciously accepted, there divine love shines forth brightly. Unfortunately, linear cause-and-effect has progressively less meaning as we approach the deep mysteries (which originate beyond time and thus have no real use for it). But the principle can be tested. Pay attention to the quality of human character that emerges from constriction accepted with conscious forgiveness as compared to what emerges from rage and violence and draw your own conclusions.

At any rate, I have often suspected that the most profound product of this world is tears. I don’t mean that to be morbid. Rather, I mean that tears express that vulnerability in which we can endure having our heart broken and go right on loving. In the tears flows a sweetness not of our own making, which has been known in our tradition as the Divine Mercy. Our jagged and hard-edged earth plane is the realm in which this mercy is the most deeply, excruciatingly, and beautifully released. That’s our business down here. That’s what we’re here for. ♦ (Emphasis added)

♦ ◊ ♦

I love Cynthia’s passion and I’m finding her insights enlightening relative to the evolution and transformation taking place in Christian thinking and in the collective consciousness as a whole, probably because I still have a place of compassionate caring in my heart for my Catholic roots.  Not that I’m setting out on a mission to save the Catholic Church.  It’s the betrayed and misled that I care about, and who I have in mind and heart sharing Cynthia’s writings.  Please feel free to wisely share these blog posts with friends and family.  We will find out where the author is taking this consideration in the final series installment, which I will post on Christmas day.  Until then, Happy Solstice.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com 

Transmutation of Planet Earth, page 3: Resurrection and Ascension

Our Beautiful Planet Earth

“Jesus said: This sky will cease to be, and the sky above it will cease to be. The dead do not live, and the living will not die.”   —From The Gospel of Thomas

Transmutation of substance precedes resurrection and ascension.  In order for substance to ascend to a higher vibratory level, it has to be refined.  There is only one creative force that can refine and transmute substance so that it can ascend to a higher vibratory level, and that’s the gentle, subtle energy of the fire of Love.  

Transmutation results in an upgrade of vibratory rate, causing a substance to appear as a new and different substance, only it’s not.  As Lord Exeter emphasizes right at the start in the excerpt that follows, Love is all there is.  There is nothing in the entire Universe that is not a differentiation of the one substance of Love.  One might argue the point and say “Well, there’s hate. Hate is not love.” No it isn’t. In fact, it is the absence of love—but only absent from expression through the human heart and mind.

Hate is nothing.  It is a void where love has been withdrawn or withheld, something only we human beings are free to do.  Only human beings can hate, can deny love its expression in the world, and suffer the consequences.  The consequences of hate are violence, destruction and death, all of which are occurring in our world today where the controlled release of love through hearts and minds is blocked by a hardening of the heart.

Lord Exeter refers to the heart as a “womb” for the birth of life, and a heaven out of which creation manifests. Where this womb is shut, closed to the spirit of Love, it is burned and hardened by its resistance to the very fire that would purify it and to the love that would heal its wounds.  Without the controlled release of the fusing fire of Love, the fire of fission erupts from below to burn up what cannot, or will not, ascend to a higher level, including the womb of the heart, turning it into a lump of ash too heavy to ascend—and where one’s heart goes one’s body follows.  As Lord Exeter points out in the last words of this excerpt, there is a lot more descending than needs to descend in the true state. 

I am interested in love and peace, life and creation, resurrection and ascension, as was Lord Exeter when he gave this service.  As before, read with an open and still mind and quiet heart. Open to the current that weaves truth and wisdom through his words.  It’s in the heart where spiritual essences are discerned and understanding occurs.  

“Transmutation with Regard to the Total Earth” (continued)

We have been considering the resurrection. The womb may be said to be the means by which life is born. The substance of love was first necessary if there was to be the substance of the womb. There is nothing else but love substance, all the way through—love substance but at different vibratory levels. And the substance of the womb is the heaven in relationship to the life that is to be born. We find at every level there is a heaven involved—a connection. You may remember that the second day of the creative cycle described in Genesis spoke of the firmament, the heaven, the connection between the waters above and the waters below, between the truth above and the truth below—the means by which what is below may be brought forth. The heaven at any level is rightly a state where there is a particular atmosphere and a particular enfoldment and a particular control, by which the creative process may continue. All that indicates the presence of what is called truth. So there is a heaven connecting the substance of love above with the substance of life below. There is one heaven.

(Right-click on the image and open in a new window for a larger view—or spread image with fingers.)

We may also see that this total area is the Triune Heaven relative to this area here—what we have called the Triune Earth. What is above is spirit, present in the dimensional world, and the fourth, the level of the heart, represents the connection, the heaven, between what is above and what is below. What is below is the Triune Earth—we could look at them as spheres, which gives them another dimension, one inside the other. The visible earth is at the center. Insofar as physical vision is concerned, that is the only one that is visible. All the others are invisible. And if we were looking at the planet earth we might recognize the fact that it is much larger than the physical ash at the center. It could extend out to about the orbit of the moon. The human view of things, which is based in involvement with externals, always emphasizes the lowest level, so that the earth, the planet, is thought of as being the thing—but it’s only one seventh of the thing. I’m not saying that all the various concentric spheres are regularly the same amount bigger than the one inside. This is merely a diagram of something. But here is a whole. The waters above connected with the waters below by the sphere represented by form, which relates to the substance of the heart—the pure heart, if the creation is as it should be, the pure heart which is the window through which what is above can shine into what is below and therefore be present relative to what is below. It all is there back of what is below—it all permeates what is below. But if the fourth sphere is dense, cloudy, then the larger spheres are not known relative to the smaller spheres in the middle, relative to the earth and to human nature. So the concern is that this veil should be dissolved, the clouds should be dissolved, so that it all may be known as One. The smallest part of it is the earth. The smallest of us is our physical bodies. There is much greater stature than that. Now we see the earth as quite a large planet in fact, relative to the physical earth—much larger than the physical earth. However even if it is as large as the orbit of the moon in fact, that is very small still relative to the size of the solar system. So here we begin to see the symbol of largeness in one direction and smallness in the other direction.

(Right-click on the image and open in a new window for a larger view—or spread image with fingers.)

Now this heaven, which includes the realms of what we call spirit in the dimensional world—seven, six and five—is the cool place, where there is a temperate atmosphere. It’s a comfortable place for angels to dwell. And it is a place of control—this is the kingdom. As the connecting sphere becomes a window through which the nature and quality of heaven may shine, it emerges into the three lowest spheres as the fire of transmutation. In other words, the hot place is the Triune Earth. Here is where the fire is burning in order to transmute the substance, beginning with the physical substance of the earth, into substance of a higher vibratory level. Here is the returning aspect of the cycle—ascension, something moving up. There is the process of transmutation at work in the earth. This is the primary level of where the transmutation is occurring, so that there may be a movement upward, not as though the earth was going someplace—that might not be the concept with respect to the earth but it has been in Christianity. The physical earth is supposed to pop up out of the graves and go to heaven someplace.

But there is no movement in fact in this fashion. It is a transmutation of the substance exactly where it is, not someplace else. And what is occurring may be said to refine—a refiner’s fire by which the substance is refined and changes its nature. We can see this in a very elementary way: the changing of the nature of the mineral earth as it is lifted into the bodies of living forms, whether vegetable or animal or whatever. The substance of the flesh of your body is different to a model of your body made in marble. The flesh of your body and all its various parts are composed of entirely different substance—it’s a different quality, a different nature. So there has been that much transmutation in the experience of your own physical body from the mineral level—something has been happening. It is assumed that it is in the nature of a circle: the substance is just lifted up into your physical body, it stays there for a while, and then bang, it collapses down into the mineral kingdom again. This is not exactly the way it works now, in fact, but it certainly is not the way it was designed to work in the original creation—it isn’t a circle. There is a continuing movement upward, and whatever has been sufficiently refined to move to the higher level moves to the higher level. And what is not capable of moving to the higher level drops down to the lower level, so that it may be acted upon again by the creative fires in the refining process, and gradually it is lifted up. There is less and less left in the way of ash and more and more moving in the ascending spiral.

There is a transmutation occurring with respect to this total planet, not just with respect to the earth aspect of it, which is the very smallest aspect. There is something happening with respect to this total planet—a movement upward; an ascending cycle is at work. But since man left his position it has been a very slow and limited process. Everything has been at a standstill virtually. It is not working the way it should—only partially so—and very little has occurred since man fell of the true creative process. It couldn’t, because there was no man in place to let it happen. This outlines something which is incapable of being encompassed by the human mind; but it is something that is happening, whatever words may be used to describe the process, of which it is necessary to become increasingly aware. Here is something actually occurring with which we are associated. If we tend to sort of blot it out of our experience with the idea that mentally speaking we can’t grasp it, then we certainly can’t participate in a way that is going to be of any value in the process itself, for which we carry a very definite responsibility.

As angels we carry that responsibility, and we are here to let that responsibility be fulfilled. As we move together these things naturally will clarify themselves to the extent that we are willing to let it be so, willing to let the Word of God be spoken in our own individual and collective experience. There is the ascending cycle at work, even though it isn’t working the way it should work. It is limited and restricted, and a lot more is descending than needs to descend in the true state.

“As we move together these things naturally will clarify themselves to the extent that we are willing to let it be so, willing to let the Word of God be spoken in our own individual and collective experience.” This sentence holds the key to how the process of transmutation of the total planet unfolds with our participation.  More needn’t be said.  As always, I welcome comments from my readers as I enjoy and value others’ thoughts along these lines.  Until my next post,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

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