“Let no one imagine that to be a spiritual guide is an excuse for ease and self-indulgence, for nothing is so demanding as the charge of souls. Those who have charge of horses and other animals keep them under control, and so they generally achieve their purpose. But to govern men is harder, because of the variety of their characters and their deliberate cunning. Anyone undertaking this task must prepare himself for a severe struggle. He must treat the faults of all with great forbearance, and patiently teach things of which in their ignorance they are not aware.” ~The Phiokalia
Whether you are training to be a monk, nun, priest, minister, or spiritual teacher, the care of the souls of people is an awesome responsibility. There is no acceptable excuse for taking that responsibility lightly. As the Philokalia correctly points out, teaching people is much harder than training a horse or a dog to do tricks.
The dog does not need to know why he should hold out a paw when you ask him to shake hands, or bark when you say speak, he just has to know that you will give him a treat, or some other reward, when he does it.
But to be a real spiritual teacher, you can't just teach ancient rituals and ceremonies without explaining what they do and why they need to be practiced. You also need to be able to keep the group disciplined so they don't start innovating and doing things incorrectly because it's easier. It is part of human nature to seek simply and quicker ways to do things, but when it comes to spiritual disciplines, this is almost certain to lead to disasters. In some cases, the shortcuts simply don't work and the students stop progressing. They may then become disappointed and leave the school. In other cases, they may awaken certain facilities before they are ready, and this has been known to result in madness.
The spiritual teacher must be strong enough to get students to listen to him, but also be able to let go when he realizes that a student will never develop the discipline and dedication necessary for true spiritual enlightenment. He must also have a great deal of patience for students who do want to learn, but have never had to deal with any kind of discipline. It is not an easy job so if you wish to do it well, you must be ready to well taught and disciplined yourself.
If you haven't figured out yet that Sheik Abbas is a despot, you are is desperate need of a soul. This was the life of most people in Europe during the time properly referred to as the Dark Ages. It was a time when the wealthy few and the royal families owned everything (or claimed to anyway) and made the peasants think they were doing them a big favor by allowing them to grow crops in their fields and occasionally hunt game in their forests. Of course the peasants paid for it by giving the Sheik/King/Prince/Earl or whatever royal twit ran the neighborhood most of the crops. People tolerated this for centuries, but eventually gained the courage to fight back and either put the royals to death, or take away all their power.
Today, in the United States of America, we have created a new royalty and they are becoming just as much despots as the old royalty of Europe and the Middle East. And they are using the same tricks to convince the average people, the common folk, that they are doing them a big favor by letting them work themselves to death for a tiny share of the spoils while most of those wealthy CEOs do next to nothing and claim most of the wealth from the work of the laborers.
Sadly, just as with Gibran's Sheik, there are many who are once again worshiping this new royal class with mantras like, “Greed is Good,” and, “Survival of the Strongest.” But just as the old royalty of the Dark Ages could not hold the people under their illusion for long, this new version will fail also. Already some people are questioning this philosophy of worshiping the greedy and perhaps beginning to do a little basic math and realize that it is the very greed of the few that is keeping the rest in poverty. There is only so much to go around, and when one person or family claims ten, fifty, or a thousand times their share, others must do without. It is that simple. And if governments don't wake up soon and fix it, the masses will, and it may get violent.
Phew! I managed to complete posts for the entire week that I will be on vacation so the blog will run as normal while I'm away.
I'm glad that they are getting pings from the missing flight 370, I hope it actually leads to something.
For tax procrastinators, you only have a few days to file. In the United States, that is.
“If you feel hatred, anger, greed, or anything, don't try to do something right away, just be aware of it. First see the ugliness of it, see the poisonous of it, see what it is. Once you see what hate is in its totality, it will drop by itself. Hatred can continue only if you have not known it in its totality.” ~Osho
A picture from Cabo, the first stop on the cruise I am on.
In the popular churches of today, as well as many popular spiritual movements and groups, there are certain ideas commonly believed. One of these is that everyone is immortal and that when they die physically, the immortal part of them remains, and so they remain. The other common belief is that when someone dies, they go directly to heaven where you will sit around playing the harp forever. Churches often say this is conditional while many spiritual groups deny that and say everyone goes there . Of course, if you consider heaven nothing more than the ancient Greek Hades, a land of the dead, this would be correct, but this is not what most real spiritual schools consider heaven to be.
We think of heaven as the highest level of existence, the most spiritual and the closest to God Himself. It should be obvious than that evil people cannot go to heaven. Likewise, no matter what the popular churches may say, neither do nice people. In fact, no one goes there directly. It would be like jumping from a deep pit to the top of a high mountain. You just don't do that. It takes many steps to get from here to there.
Also note the phrase, “if he wins immortality.” While Blavatsky does no elaborate here, obviously this means that simply dropping dead does not win you immortal life. So how can one have an immortal soul and not be immortal? Because if you don't awaken and develop that soul while you are alive on the material level, you will not become integrated with it, and it will separate from you when you die. So, yes, that soul goes on, but without you.
She then goes on to talk about what happens after you die. The exact details are not particularly important. What matters is that she says we do not sit around playing the harp, or sit on clouds eating yogurt. When we move to the next level, our work is not over. We now have to work just as hard, if not harder, to reach the next level. Then the next, and the next, until we eventually reach Heaven, the highest level where only the most perfected beings can dwell. And part of that work on each level, will be to reach down to lower levels and help those still stuck there, but who are trying to advance.
And yet most Christians accept the claims of Paul of Tarsus (better known as St. Paul) that despite the fact that he had persecuted Christians for years, and even insisted on attending their executions, that Jesus appeared to him in the desert and told him to take over running the church because the twelve apostles that Jesus carefully trained for years were doing a lousy job (the apostles didn't believe him and told him if he wanted to run a church, go start his own, which is exactly what he did. Few Christians know this.)
This quoted lesson can be taken both literally and figuratively, it works both ways. Literally, it tells us that a man who lives by blood, by war, is not a person to build a temple to God—unless, of course, it is a temple to Satan, the god of blood sacrifice. Figuratively, it is a lot broader. It means that a violent person, a very materialistic person, is not suitable to be a true spiritual teacher or leader. If you needed an operation, you would go to a surgeon, not a plumber or a soldier. If you needed shoes, you would go to a cobbler, not a dressmaker. Now we buy everything in one place and its all made in big factories, but the concept still applies.
So if you want a good church, temple, or spiritual school, you need to start out with a highly developed spiritual person as the teacher and founder. Not a businessman who sees it as a way to sell millions of books, or a government lackey who sees religion as a way to keep the rabble under control. A real church, temple or spiritual schools exists to save souls and help people develop their spiritual facilities. If they are not doing that, they have either always been a false church, or have fallen into apostasy.
Most people know of Pythagoras as a great math teacher, particularly of geometry, but he was more a philosopher and spiritual teacher than a mathematician. His interest in mathematical formulas and geometric shapes was only for the purposes of helping himself and his students grow spiritually. His idea that God is universal mind is a good one, but this should not be confused with the intellectualism of the human brain. Divine Consciousness and materialistic intellect are two very different things.
Likewise, materialistic people of today tend to think of Plato as a philosopher. While he certainly did say a lot of very philosophical things, he was primarily a spiritual teacher like Pythagoras. Intellectuals and academics don't see this because they can't see beyond the limits of the language Plato used to see the deeper meaning.
I was not aware until I read this section in Blavatsky that Plato was unhappy with some teachers who started revealing too much of the mysteries to the public and welcoming into their schools people who were not truly dedicated to God and to spiritual development. It makes sense, though, that he would be.
There are two primary dangers in revealing these things to people who are not ready for them. One, they misuse the knowledge and harm themselves and others. Two, they water down or alter the teachings because of a lack of true understanding resulting in schools that teach half-truths that do little if anything to help people develop their spirits and souls.
Even today there are great spiritual schools in the world who's existence is unknown to the public and who's teachings are even less known. But due to the limited amount of time left for the world to wake up and start following God's Plan, some schools have started to reveal some things publicly in order to locate and recruit worthy students before time runs out.
Most people understand that they must eat a healthy and nutritious diet to have a strong and healthy body, even if they don't bother to practice it. Yet few seem to understand that the spirit and soul require nutrition as well. They must be fed just like the body, or like the body they will shrivel and become weak.
Part of the problem is that people simply don't know how to feed the spirit. No one has ever taught them. The false preachers and priests don't know themselves, so how can they teach others? Fortunately, there are still real spiritual schools in the world and they do know the answer: Light. Not any light, of course, the spirit and soul must feed on spiritual Light and the primary source of such light in our solar system is the spiritual sun.
Unfortunately, just looking at the sun won't fix this problem. You would be looking almost exclusively at the material sun rather than the spiritual and that will only feed you with the frequencies of energy that will make you more materialistic and, while those frequencies may benefit the physical body, they will do nothing for the spirit. This is why it is necessary to work with a spiritual school or community that can teach you how to look at the spiritual sun and absorb those frequencies while limiting absorption of those frequencies that encourage materialism.
Some people also get the idea that once they have awakened the spirit and soul by taking in this spiritual “food” that they can stop. That is like thinking that after one big meal you can stop feeding the physical body. The spirit must be fed spiritual Light regularly just as the physical body must be fed physical food regularly. Of course, it is true that when the spirit is well nourished, some of that energy trickles down to the physical body allowing it to function on less food. This is why some spiritual people can go for weeks without any physical food.
“This is why the Lawgiver, symbolically commanding us to deny entry to sensual pleasure, told us to watch the head of the serpent, because it is watching our heel. Its aim is to bite our heel and so to poison us; … This means that we should first learn to detect the attack of deceitful thoughts from premonitory signs and to watch their first beginnings, which they contrive to make attractive in appearance so as to attain their end; than we can expose the wickedness of these thoughts by comparing their first beginnings with the final results. …
“To clarify what has been said, let us take two examples. Often the vice of unchastity has it's first beginning in self-esteem; … Under the influence of self-esteem, a man may perhaps enter the priesthood or the life of monastic perfection; … his self-esteem makes him think highly of himself. … So, by beguiling him with such thoughts, self-esteem draws him far away from the inner watchfulness that he should possess.” ~The Philokalia
Perhaps the most important part of this quote is near the beginning where we are told that when the teacher or master tells us to give up sensual pleasures, it is an allegorical way of saying that we need to watch our own thoughts and stop ourselves from thinking evil things, evil thoughts being anything that turns us away from doing God's work. It doesn't have to be thoughts of murder, or rape, or robbery to be evil. Any thought that encourages us to engage in more materialistic activities and cut back on our spiritual ones is an evil thought, but is often not recognized as such. So when we have such thoughts, we need to think about the results before we follow their suggestions. Is the purpose to get us to skip some spiritual activities so we can spend more time in material ones? Is the result of acting on the thoughts to get us to spend more time with materialistic persons and less with our spiritual brothers and sisters? If so, than they are thoughts we probably should not entertain.
In the rest of the quoted section, the author talks about the dangers of self-esteem. I would use the word egotism instead. I think egotism makes it more obvious what he is talking about and why he is against it. The biggest problem with an egotistical person is probably that he cannot accept that any of his thoughts are evil, or will lead to evil activities, because he is so impressed with himself that he believes any thought that enters his brain must be a good one. He forgets, or never realized, that some thoughts have outside sources, namely those beings we call demons. The example of a priest who is so impressed with himself that he listens to his own thoughts rather than seeking the inner wisdom. We today are certainly familiar with such priests and ministers.
Some spiritual teachers and spiritual schools teach that the ego must be totally eliminated before one can become spiritually enlightened. That is not true, and may not even be possible. The ego does have to be kept in check, though, and not allowed to control everything because it is the very nature of the ego to be materialistic. By working to awaken our soul, we can keep the ego under control without destroying it.
It is not by accident that in the Bible's Book of Genesis, God starts the creation of the world by saying, “Let there be light!” even though this creation tale is more allegory than literal truth. Creation must start with light and eventually return to light. And as I have pointer out in several recent posts, science now backs up this idea with the revelation that the supposedly very firm and real universe of matter is actually just a hologram made of light.
In the remainder of the quoted section, Blavatsky goes into something a little different: an alternative to Darwin's evolution. It is not that she, or any other spiritual person, is denying that evolution does indeed take place and explains the progress of material beings, but that it is a very incomplete picture much like looking only at the part of the iceberg that is above water.
Basically, what she is saying is that we will never find the earliest version of man by digging in the ground for bones. All we can find by that method is the earliest material man, and that is not the same thing. Man was a spiritual being long before he descended into material levels of being. Exactly why our ancestors made such a stupid choice millions of years ago, I do not know, but it likely wasn't intentional. The allegorical tale of Adam and Eve in the Bible give a good clue to what happened. By choosing to “eat” from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is not a tree in the usual sense at all, they triggered an event that led to them becoming material beings.
The good news though is that we still have a spirit and soul so we still can reverse the process with the help of God. God won't do it alone though. We have to make a concerted effort to fix it ourselves following the methods revealed to prophets and other holy ones. And we can't wait forever, time is running out.
It is undoubtedly just a publicity stunt, but I still have to admire the Mighty Taco chain in New York state for banning Putin from it's restaurants.
I had to kind of laugh at Tyson recalling some of it's chickens nuggets because the packages may contain some bits of plastic. Given that these are chicken nuggets, the plastic is probably the most nutritious thing in the bag.
A German skydiver died this week in a stunt. But at least she died doing something very important: trying to get in a world record book.
I can certainly understand a homeless man trying to grab the money when he tried to get $140 out of an ATM and it gave him $37,000 instead.
They say if you can't get the childproof cap off of your medicine, give it to a kid and he will open it in seconds. Now the kids are catching up with technology. This week a five-year-old figured out how to get past the password check on his dad's Xbox because of a security flaw.
I will be going on vacation in one week. As usual, I will set up some articles to auto-post while I'm away, but I won't respond to comments until I get back. While I will have internet access on the cruise ship, it's slow and expensive so I will limit using it as much as possible.
“Pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separation.” ~Rumi
“The self is pure unblemished consciousness. Be quick! Realize it quickly and gain transcendental happiness!” ~Tripura Rahasya Book
(Two quotes this week because they are both very short.)