Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Seth Material.............


 

"Seth is a name that was used by a non-physical spiritual teacher on assignment from me. Neither the channelers, Jane Roberts and her husband Robert Butts, nor the readers of the material would have been receptive to hearing this information if it was represented as coming directly from me. Times have changed of course, and now there are several modern examples of my messages being directly attributed to me.

"Seth's teachings are a part of my teachings, and I am very pleased at how well they have been adopted by a large number of humans. The channeling of Seth was where the ideas that reality is multi-dimensional and that individuals create their own reality first surfaced in popular culture. Of the many books of channeled information written by Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality has the best grasp of the complexities of reality creation in individual humans.

"This body of work is impressive in its scope and accuracy, not so much because it was ground breaking new material, but because it was conveyed without reference to the most important element in reality, the magnetic essence that pre-exists all else and opens space for and contains everything in manifestation. All of Creation and each individual within it is absolutely dependent on the feminine, magnetic principle, the Mother of Creation. Also, the Seth books came during a time when it was rumored that I was dead, so it is missing some important information about the role of Spirit in the process of human reality formation.

"Beliefs or judgments and the dynamics in the relationship between the mental and physical bodies was the basic focus of this material. The emotional body was also discussed as powerful in reality formation, but like the physical body it was portrayed as being subject to beliefs, and often something that needed to be 'fixed' by the mental body. These ideas and concepts have evolved into what is now known as mind/body medicine, and they also form the basis of the modern use of hypnosis and other mental techniques to resolve physical and emotional issues.

"As I have stated here and in other channeled material, I am evolving. While this is difficult to conceive for many people with an older, more fundamental understanding of my nature, it is none the less true. As I evolve I learn and grow in understanding. The issues I asked Seth to address more than a generation ago need to be addressed differently now. This web site and other modern channeled material are examples of my more recent understandings.
"With the exception a few minor distortions near the end of the work, the channeling of Jane Roberts is quite accurate and very descriptive of many layers and dimensions of reality. The time has come now for the other shoe to drop, to fill in the gaps left by Seth in understanding the true nature of reality and the full role of humans in Creation.

http://www.godchannel.com/index.html


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The Rationale of Psychism

 
 
by Dion Fortune
 
An adequate study of the psychology of psychism is subject-matter for a  book. When such a study is made, it is readily seen how inadequate is the average clairvoyant's explanation of his vision. He declares that he sees the presences he describes. As a matter of fact he no more sees them on the astral plane than he sees chairs and tables on the physical plane, as anyone who understands the physiology of vision is aware. He reacts to their  emanations, and he reacts according to certain reaction-habits which have become stereotyped by experience.
 
Even in the vision of the physical eye on the material plane, we never "see" the object to which we react, we only feel the sensations which the reactions of the cells of the retina to the light, reflected from the object on to their surface, cause to take place among the cells of the brain. Impair the retina, the connecting nerve, or the brain-cells concerned with vision, and the object disappears. In all vision we never "see" the object, we only look into our own consciousness as the Lady of Shallott looked into the magic mirror. It is by practice and habit we learn to refer an object to position in space, and this power of judgment is the result of binocular vision. We judge distance by the angle of convergence of the focus of our two eyes. Moreover, in dealing with a familiar object, we do not look at it in detail, we recognise it by a general impression of its salient features, and infer the rest.
 
I well remember an experience which befell me as a child, and which I have often quoted in my lectures, for it is very illustrative of the psychology of vision: awakening in the dim light of dawn, I saw on the windowsill of my nursery an unfamiliar object which appeared to me to be a large rabbit. I gazed at it enraptured till the growing light revealed it to be a little pile of clean linen. Some familiar curve of the bundle had suggested the rabbit's fat back,  and my imagination had supplied the rest of its anatomy from memory.
 
Exactly the same mechanism is at work with the clairvoyant. Upon a newly  developed sense-centre in consciousness impinge vibrations of an unfamiliar character. He is receiving in a higher octave than is available for the five physical senses. Accustomed, however, to transmission via these senses, he interprets the unfamiliar vibrations in the nearest stock image he has got in consciousness. He generally gets an accurate analogy, and provided it be  recognised that what he interprets in terms of sense consciousness is but a symbolic representation of the psychic actuality no harm is done. He translates his impressions back into terms of their own plane, and the result becomes clear.
 
Trouble arises, however, when, with what is termed naive psychology, he  accepts what he perceives as being an exact representation of the objects represented, and concludes that the inner planes are but etherial copies of the material planes with which his senses have made him familiar.
 
Image of Spirits Illuminated by Self-Made LightA little consideration will show why this not, and cannot be, so. Take first of all the robed forms of angels which appear to the vision of the seer. We know that they have no physical bodies, but are intelligences. Upon what, then, do they hang their robes? We are seeing our own thought-forms of what we think such presences ought to look like, and our concepts are determined by traditional religious art which always puts its sacred figures into classical draperies. It is very interesting to note that in the visions of Asiatics, a similar conventionalising of the angelic presence occurs, which is invariably seen in terms of Oriental art. I shall always remember the gasp which the audience gave when in the Annunciation scene in Rutland Boughton's "Bethlehem," the archangel Gabriel appeared in tunic and tights.
 
The effect produced by the production of Shakespeare in modern dress throws a very great deal of light on the psychology of clairvoyance. It is my contention that  the clairvoyants see nothing but the reactions in their own consciousness produced by the  influences impinging upon them, and that it is the translation of these impressions into the nearest equivalent image in memory which endows the angelic visitant with form and voice.
 
The trained occultist, properly tuning-in on the planes, does not employ this visual consciousness, but perceives direct without the need of translation from a symbolic rendering. He perceives the thought-impressions of the mental plane as ideas, and the forces of the astral plane as emotions. All form is subjective. It is out of this realisation that comes his dominion over them.
 
Accustomed to refer an object to position in space according to its size and clarity, the untrained clairvoyant does with the visual images evoked from his subconscious mind  by psychic stimulus exactly the same thing that he is in the habit of doing with the visual images evoked by the stimulation of his retina. In the language of psychology, he "projects"  them. It is the same mechanism which occurs when the lunatic, having good cause for self-reproach, refuses to recognise his memories as concerning himself, and "hears" the voice of a demon shouting obscenities at him from the picture-rail.
 
In the case of the lunatic, it is recognised that a dissociation of personality has occurred, and that the mind is no longer being held together by the unifying ego. A part has  got into a state which is analogous to that of an artificial elemental. We are now in a position to understand the psychology of the untrained psychic. A part of his personality is dissociated for the purposes of his psychism, but whereas in the lunatic it is a part of the lower self which thus becomes separated, because it is felt to be too base for admittance to the fabric of co-ordinations which makes up the soul, in the case of the psychic it is a part of the higher self which thus becomes disconnected, because the rest of the personality is not sufficiently evolved to admit of its integration.
 
Although the cause is different, the result may end by being the same, for  when once dissociation of personality is permitted to take place, there is no saying how far it may continue. The little rift can become a deep fissure in a surprisingly short time.
 
The trained occultist is well aware of the power of the dissociated personality to obtain special psychic results, and he employs this faculty at his discretion. He knows that if he desires to function with a power of the soul which is not yet developed to an equal degree with the five physical senses, he must close down those senses in order that the faint vibrations registered by the higher centres may become audible to consciousness, instead of being swamped by the louder vibrations of a lower octave. He also knows that if he wants to hear  the vibrations of the mental plane, he must close down the emotional reactions of the astral plane. He has a regular system of inducing these successive closings-down, known as "rising on the planes," and it is produced by a concentration on the chosen plane of such a degree of  intensity that all else is automatically excluded from consciousness.
 
In this way he does not cause a faculty to split off and function independently, but inhibits all planes below the one on which he elects to operate, and the chosen faculty then functions in full correlation with the ego. A little thought will reveal the fundamental difference between this method and that of the naive psychic who allows a dissociation of personality to take place through repeated "projections" of mental images.
 
The trained occultist, moreover, is exceedingly careful not to swim out further than he can be sure of swimming back, for he knows that if the silver cord be loosed, the golden bowl of the integrity of the personality will be broken. He employs a regular system of connected ideas to carry consciousness up the planes by means of an association-chain, and he comes down the planes by reversing the order of the images in his contemplation. He thus translates the symbolism accurately down the planes, and so the chain of associated ideas is not broken, and memory is brought through.
 
The highest development of occult work occurs when the objective  consciousness of the different planes can be synthesised into a single chord, as we synthesise the sensory consciousness of the physical plane when we see, hear, smell and feel an object simultaneously, and out of this combination of impressions gain a far richer idea of the nature of that object than we could from any one of them taken singly.
 
For a full understanding of any form of existence, more than one plane of  consciousness is necessary. The combined consciousness of the planes is to the psychic what binocular vision is to the ordinary mortal. For each added faculty of consciousness, there is an added dimension of existence.
 
It is only the supreme adept, however, who is thus able to coordinate  consciousness simultaneously; most occultists rely on the method already described of inhibiting the unwanted faculties until the desired one is laid bare and freed for function.
 
The weakness of the uninitiated psychic lies in the fact that he  misunderstands his own modus operandi. Projection and dissociation, as already described, undermine the integrity of his mind. Moreover, by the method he uses, he can only touch the fringe of the Unseen. Unlike the occultist, he cannot rise on the stepping stones of the symbols. He stops short at the first symbol that is evoked in consciousness, and that symbol may have little power of rendering the philosophical subtleties of the higher planes of mind.
 
Psychism is always limited by the contents of the psychic's subconscious  mind. The control is like an artist working in mosaic, he has to put his picture together out of the little blocks of coloured marble, and he is limited by their characteristics. We therefore find that the psychic of limited intellectual content relies chiefly on pictureconsciousness for his symbols, whereas the more educated psychic brings through actual teaching in verbal form, for his subconscious content has been enriched by the study of the spoken and written word.
 
It is not very common, however, to find psychics among highly educated  people, for when the mind is enriched by study, it is also apt to be stereotyped, for the ideas it receives from its studies do not enter it as detached units, but as parts of systems from which they cannot readily be detached; therefore it is not possible for the spirit designer to rearrange the mosaic of his ideas to represent some new design. When he picks up one idea, a whole mass of others come with it. He cannot take a symbol from psychology, and a symbol from dynamics and a symbol from religion and recombine them into a new concept to be represented to the mind. The integrated systems of the educated intellect resist this process. But where there can be found an educated mind with a wide range of intellectual content, wherein it is possible to close down the directive intelligence and permit the spirit-entity to manipulate the images available in the subconscious memory, then is a high degree of mediumship possible.
 
Image of the Human Wireless
 
The above article first appeared in The Occult Review, Vol. XLVIII, No 3; Sept I928.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Michael Teachings

The 7 Planes of Existence(excerpt from The Journey of Your Soul)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BY SHEPHERD HOODWIN  
Just as there are seven colors in the rainbow and seven tones in a musical scale, each with a different vibratory rate, there are seven levels of being on the spectrum of creation. The slowest speed of vibration occurs on the physical plane; the highest, on the buddhaic plane. From the buddhaic plane, energy returns to its source, the Tao.
Physical plane: The densest of the seven planes; where we presently reside.
Astral plane: The second plane of creation. Its medium is concrete emotional energy. It is where our consciousness is focused between lifetimes and when we're finished with the physical plane.
Causal plane: The third plane of creation. Its medium is concrete intellectual energy. It is Michael's plane of existence.
Akashic plane: The central, neutral plane of creation that interconnects the other six. The distilled knowledge of the universe is recorded there. This is the records generated of everything that happens in the universe as it occurs. The appearance is that all matter and energy have a sort of built-in digital recording device, storing its entire history in a photographic code, but the records are actually windows into the past. The records show events exactly as they were experienced, so the information in them begins raw-it is not clarified, understood, and assimilated until a consciousness takes responsibility for doing so. Once it is fully assimilated, it is stored on the akashic plane.
Mental plane: The fifth plane of creation. Its medium is abstract intellectual energy, emphasizing truth. The infinite soul who incarnated as Lao-tzu taught from this plane.
Messianic plane: The sixth plane of creation. Its medium is abstract emotional energy, emphasizing love. The infinite soul who incarnated as Jesus taught from this plane.
Buddhaic plane: The highest plane of creation. Its medium is pure or abstract kinetic energy. We experience the buddhaic plane just before fully refocusing our awareness in the Tao. The infinite soul who incarnated as Buddha taught from this plane.
 

PLANES OF CREATION

The Tao has created many universes, or overall experiments. (I am not speaking here of parallel universes.) Our universe is based in part on the law of seven. It permeates the Michael teachings and many other teachings, as well as being applicable to musical scales, colors of the rainbow, and so forth. Seven consists of two sets of three connected by one.
Twelve is another significant number in this universe, and it relates to seven. For example, the seven-note musical scale is a series of whole and half steps. It is drawn from the twelve-note chromatic scale, which is all half steps.
Apparently, other universes are based on different mathematical ideas. Some of our previous grand cycles may have been in other universes, especially if we have had a high number of them, since this universe is relatively young.
Michael brought up the topic of other universal schemes in relationship to the seven roles:
 

In this universe, the Tao fragments into the seven roles, like white light bent into the seven rainbow colors through the particular prism that this universe offers. A different universe might have a different prism that results in something that cannot be understood in this universe. Our system of seven is only one way a perfect whole can be differentiated.
 


This universe has seven planes, or dimensions. (A diagram later in this chapter illustrates them.) Three are ordinal (concrete), three are cardinal (abstract), and one is neutral, providing connection. The most ordinal plane is the physical, which is concrete energy. Its position is mirrored by the most cardinal plane, the buddhaic, which is abstract energy. The astral plane (concrete emotion) is the middle ordinal plane. It is mirrored in position by the middle cardinal plane, the messianic (abstract emotion). The causal plane (concrete thought) is the highest ordinal plane. It is mirrored in position by the lowest cardinal plane, the mental. This mirroring balances the universe. The higher planes are about pure energy, love, and truth; the lower planes are about manifesting them. The fulcrum of the balance is the neutral akashic plane. It connects all the others through the akashic or record-keeping aspect of each plane, which feed into it.
There are etheric, nonsolid levels of the physical plane both lower and higher in frequency than our physical bodies. Some people with psychic skills can see them. The fact that they can be physically seen indicates that they are part of the physical plane. We cannot physically see what is nonphysical, although we may translate our nonphysical perceptions into physical images. The etheric substance lower in vibration than the solid physical connects it with the Tao. This is the realm of devas, or nature spirits; it could be called the “lower physical plane.” The etheric substance higher in vibration than the solid physical connects it with the astral; it is in the realm of what could be called the “upper physical plane.” It is the domain of “ghosts,” and some extraterrestrials. The ethereal life form of the “higher sentients” who lived on earth before the “fall of man” was also of the upper physical plane. What we consider solid substance, as well as other vibrations that we can directly perceive such as light and sound, exist in the “middle physical plane.”
It might be more accurate to view the planes as being in a circle rather than a line. This is illustrated in the following diagram. Each spiral loop is a plane of creation. The six spiral loops that make one big loop, like a “Slinky” toy with the beginning and end connected, are the planes we experience in a progression. The loop in the middle is the akashic plane; it is not directly part of the progression because we do not actually have a cycle of experience there—it is a resource for the universe as a whole, and provides the Tao with a distillation of all that has been accomplished in this universe. The point of beginning (“Entrance”) and end (“Exit”) is in the Tao, the undimensional ground of all being—this is where we start and finish the game. The pattern filling each loop representing a plane matches that of the plane on the same axis; for example, both the astral and messianic planes are on the inspiration axis, and both are filled with a checkerboard design. The fill of the loop representing the akashic plane is a darker version of the neutral gray pattern that fills the circle representing the universe as a whole, signifying the akashic records that extend from the akashic plane and interpenetrate all the planes of existence. The akashic plane is directly accessible from the causal and mental planes, illustrated on the diagram with straight lines.
Although this model demonstrates the progression of sentient consciousness, it should not be construed as meaning that only the physical and buddhaic planes have direct contact with the Tao. The diagram illustrates this by showing the universe (the inner circle) as being contained within the Tao (the outer circle).
 

Since the Tao is the ground of all being, every plane has a direct connection with it. The Tao is inherent in any vibrational frequency; those on any plane can “arrive” at it “coming or going” through either increasing their frequency to “all frequency” or decreasing it to “no frequency.”
On the physical plane, by transcending the material illusions round about and entering into a space of no space and a time of no time, you experience the Tao. You can get there by descending through the earth vibration or ascending through the heaven vibration. The solid roles generally find the former to be easier. The fluid roles find the latter to be easier. However, any role can do both. This is available only when balance and nonattachment are achieved.
 


Incidentally, Michael normally uses the word Tao in place of God (depending on the beliefs of those listening) because God is usually personified as a judgmental and hierarchical male figure. They may also use the word God to signify the overall consciousness of the manifest universe, as opposed to its source in the dimensionless Tao. In that case, we are each part of both the Tao and God. As microcosmic individuals, we are sparks or units of the Tao experiencing this universe as separate essences. God could be seen as the macrocosmic individual, the larger “chunk” of the Tao who, as a whole, inhabits this universe and experiences the overall expansion and lessons the Tao seeks.


http://www.michaelteachings.com/




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7 Planes of Consciousness

        
February 14, 2013                                                              
                         
Introduction
 
 
 
The 7 Words System is based on the traditional Sufi teaching that describes the nature of reality as having 7 clearly described aspects. These are called planes of consciousness, said to be different qualities of light that arise according to its vibrational rate. In Sufism Light is a term used as a metaphor; it equates exactly with what scientists measure as energy. Both scientists and mystics acknowledge that everything is energy, even physical matter, which is the expression of energy in its slowest form.
A study of the 7 Planes is typically carried out during silent retreats and can take years to complete - because, in order to fully grasp them, the ideas themselves need to be embodied as states. This makes the wisdom of this teaching rather inaccessible to most people. So there has been developed a more intuitively obvious approach that employs 7 of the simplest words we all know.
This is pleasing to the part of us that wants our spiritual nature and our material nature to be clearly integrated. Often a seeker will find sacred text offers something of importance - a golden nugget that offers inspiration and comfort - yet the student will not make the connection that explains how that has anything to do with raising children or getting a good job: hence the 7 Words, which tries to bridge that divide.
In the articles that will complete the series, each of the planes will be described in its purest form, as a Sufi teaching. In summary - the Earth plane is to do with physical existence and its challenges and lessons; its essential mystery is abundance. The Astral plane relates to our ability to find solutions, to use intuition, to focus emotions and thought towards creative outcomes. Next, the plane of Love, Harmony and Beauty is where we awaken our experience of the joy and the power of love through the expression of compassion.
The 4th plane, is called the Heroic, its main theme is authenticity and it engages us fully with the shadow nature of our psychological imperfections, frequently externalising inner conflicts. The higher planes are less self-centred. We learn all about sacredness on the 5th, the Plane of Splendour, and the purpose and qualities of sacredness. We become aware of those aspects of our being that can only be explained with the study of what we call angels. The Immaculate State, 6th Plane, is close to purity itself; beyond that is the 7th state of Unity, which is all but unimaginable.
These 7 planes form a cosmology, so that they can be used to form a complete perception of the nature of reality and therefore, of course, oneself.

EARTH PLANE
The Earth plane is to do with physical existence, its challenges, lessons, unique experiences and joys. It expresses the slowest vibration of energy – called light by Sufis. As both scientists and mystics have perceived, what seems solid is in fact very spacious, matter is actually energy in form.
What distinguishes physicality is that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Boundaries are firm. This gives rise to the experience of limitation when we are stopped from getting what we go for. Lessons around this include patience, tolerance, acceptance, and perseverance. By experiencing the need for these qualities, we can then integrate them into our character and develop a more beautiful personality – considered of great worth by Sufis. Choice is another quality developed in response to limitation, so we are obliged to define and refine our identity, bringing clarity and precision to an otherwise indistinct ego. 
The ego tends to be rather thick and reactive because it feels a need to be resilient against the imposition of outer forces claiming space. It really is quite impossible to exist on the Earth plane without an ego, because one must have a physical body. That body requires nourishment, which must sustain my body not yours. Instinct is strong, and spiritual awareness is often not much in evidence. Suffering therefore occurs, and this may well assist in the remembrance of one’s divine spiritual nature. Also our humanity awakens though our compassionate response in witness to the suffering of others.
Typical earth people are manual workers, whose pace is slow and steady. Farmers are the best example. These people plod unhurriedly through the long days, quietly attending to their duties and tasks, never getting very emotional, knowing how things work, how seasons rotate and that nothing much is worth getting excited for. 
The message of the Earth plane is the wisdom of how to accept what cannot be changed, how to struggle to overcome what can, and learning to tell the difference between the two. The reward for learning Earth plane mysteries is abundance. 
 
ASTRAL PLANE
Whereas it is physicality that expresses Earth Plane reality, here we move into the realms of mentality. The Mind. In this world, we include all thought, beliefs, ideas, imagination and the emotions too shallow to touch the deeper feelings of the heart. Thoughts live here; they have a life that has power, duration and longevity. The power and influence of a particular thought-form depends upon the passion behind its inception and the specific clarity of focus. So it is wise to exercise caution with what we allow to dominate the mind's attention. If we dwell on painful feelings, morbid ideas and pessimistic expectation, then we are creating powerful negative spells that have a life of their own.
This is most clearly seen in the wider sphere of public behaviour, where beliefs and fashions of morality come and go in waves and cycles. These cycles have tended to be rather slow, measured in centuries rather than decades. Yet with the birth of the Internet - an extraordinarily meaningful representation in physical terms of the Astral Plane - humanity's mind is racing quickly through unprecedented shifts of attitude, which are influencing political realities in a way never occurring before in history. We can see clear evidence of where the world's attention is being placed: sensational news, sex, travel, music, social networking and, rather surprisingly, astrology. These are the leading themes of Google's keyword searches today.
In this lifetime, the Astral Plane is what goes on inside our head. There is the grosser, more demanding world to cope with - the physical reality of the Earth Plane - which keeps us grounded by having to cope with putting food on the table and a roof overhead. Were it not for this, some people would find their mind's lack of focus rather troubling, to the point of madness or serious constant confusion...and of course some do already. Leaving the Earth Plane after death, the situation reverses - instead of the mind being inside us, we are inside it. Sufis teach that we return to Source stage by stage, with the Astral Plane next. In simple terms we live in the world that we have created during this life by the choice of what we mostly thought about. This deserves serious consideration.
The darker, heavier emotions of negativity give rise to the Lower Astral - a world of violence, hatred and fear. Whereas the lighter side of this plane, the Upper Astral, is all fun and joy; it is the place of creative genius, where answers are found to puzzles and we express art for art's sake. We can see the importance of living now to develop a mental and emotional approach to life that is calm, easy and pleasant - assuming we want a calm, easy and pleasant after-life to inhabit.
Let us not speak as though this reality is elsewhere and later; it is not - it is here and now. When we indulge our fears, anxieties, addiction and depressions and general negativity, then we slip into the Lower astral. When we are curious, playful, creative and even a little bit naughty, then we enter the upper reaches of this 'plane of the djinn spirits'.
Djinns are mischievous, free and powerful inhabitants of this realm; their name has given rise to the word genius, and the genie in the bottle. Freeing the mind from external blinkers, and yet mastering it yourself - this gives awesome power. This is the mystery of this reality and is accessed by learning how to say Hello. When we are masters of Hello, we gain considerable influence in all the worlds.

PLANE OF LOVE HARMONY & BEAUTY
The third of Sufism's 7 Planes of Consciousness is called the Plane of Love, Harmony and Beauty. It has correspondence with the softer side of the Heart Centre and is linked with the word Thanks within the 7 Words system.
As the name suggests, this plane is where we experience the heart - and such things that connect with the heart's association with compassion. Compassion - "suffering with" - is free of the expectation or need for exchange; it is given, simply because it is the essential nature of Heart to give. In this context the word Love is indicative of unconditional love, so it goes beyond the focus of love that requires conditions, like sexual passion or romance.
Nonetheless it is relational. We identify a certain quality of energy which we call love, by noticing a feeling in the heart area, and this arises typically when we are with another person - or at least remembering that person. In some people it can also easily arise in other situations, as when we experience profound beauty or joie de vivre. The nature of our relationship with these people or things is harmonious. Harmony in music is found when two or more voices are singing melodies that are different and yet mutually supportive and together graceful and elegant.
An interesting formula is offered by Sufis - that the perfection of Love is Harmony, and the perfection of Harmony is Beauty. This is a deeper idea than might immediately be obvious and warrants careful consideration. Can Harmony therefore exist without Love? Can Beauty ever be perfected without Love? In relationship, do we look for Harmony and Beauty as evidence of Love? In the context of our Third Plane studies have we to infer that Beauty is a heart quality?
Although no doubt the larger purpose of our study of Sufism is to open all centres and rejoice in the fullness of our being, this path is essentially a path of the heart (not all spiritual paths are so). As such we expect to expand our ability to feel the beauty of life, to live in harmony with all we meet and to radiate compassion unreservedly. This usually means that we are soft, often childlike, a little naive, trusting and perhaps easily given to expressions of joy and sorrow. We feel and are quick to shed a tear in the presence of the poignancy of life, great beauty or another's misfortune.
Such qualities are not conducive towards worldly achievements, so the harshness of daily life may intimidate or overwhelm. People with strong 3rd plane resonance are quite family-oriented, often good at providing nurture, care, an emotionally secure home life and general sense of belonging. They can lack the thick-skinned robustness needed to struggle against competition or aggression.
Such types that delight in this more fiery exchange belong on the Heroic plane, which we'll look at next.
 
HEROIC PLANE
The fourth of Sufism’s 7 Planes of Consciousness is called the Heroic Plane. It has correspondence with the heart’s stronger qualities and is linked in the 7 Words System with the word Goodbye.
However pleasant it feels to enjoy the nurturing security of the plane of Love, it can get a bit boring for people whose natural predisposition is more dynamic and inclined to rise to challenges. And this is what the 4th plane is about. It is not especially joyful, although it has its own sense of celebration. It is more to do with baptism by fire – the burning away of impurities through often uncomfortable processes of tests and rigours. Here the spiritual disciple learns lessons of self-control and ardent purification.
Within the realms of relationship we often see the energies of both Venus and Mars. If Venus is 3rd plane then Mars is definitely 4th. The warrior needs to contest with another in order to sharpen his wits and strengthen his will, and although the purpose of doing so evolves into battling the self, it begins through the conflict where two motivations clash. Martial arts and violent sports are examples of preferred activities for 4th plane types, where occupations can often include negotiation – in business, diplomacy, or politics.
On the plane of Heroes, there are winners and losers. It is overseen by archangelic beings – the Seraphim – and these fiery cosmic characters blow their trumpets to raise a celebratory fanfare whenever they witness the forces of light defeat those of darkness. We feel these ourselves as a sense of exaltation when we resist temptation or overcome an agency of negativity. Do we not blow our trumpets a little when we have successfully stood firm on a matter of principle?
Through external conflict we are learning how to develop the necessary qualities to deal with the inner conflicts that inevitably arise for the true seeker. Each of us is somewhat false at times, we fail to ring true when struck by life’s demands and we capitulate to greater forces that we deem to be wrong. It is for us to perfect a sense of right and wrong – not as a judgement to rise self-importantly above others, but as the foundation of truth upon which to construct an authentic life path. As we do so, we are tested. It is always so – and we must stand firm if we are to claim our greatest birthright.
This is not a place on which to dwell. There are real and serious dangers for people who spend most of their time engaging 4th plane issues. The fire can be destructive – it does not support ordinary domestic life, nor yet prayerful monastic rhythms, because its energy is too passionate, unbending, and uncomfortable. It can lead to burn out, isolation and bigotry. In fact, the distortions on this plane can be the most difficult of all distortions. Fanatics, tyrants and zealots are as likely as heroes.
There are plenty of occasions when we are clear of conscience, strong of will with fire in the heart and God on our side – and yet we lose a battle. Dark forces prevail. Then we have to accept the setback, regroup our resources and reaffirm our expectation of success. The 4th plane knows no fear, no surrender and no exhaustion…so be careful! Yet without it, no access to the higher glories are found – these are 5th plane mysteries.

PLANE OF SPLENDOUR
The 5th plane of consciousness called the Plane of Splendour is represented by the word Please. It is associated with the archangelic realm of Cherubs, which are not cute little baby angels at all, they are unimaginably vast and powerful self-aware spiritual beings that never incarnate but simply live throughout eternity singing the praises of God. Clearly they relate to the throat chakra, and are invoked by sacred chanting and prayer.
Prayer is not to be trifled with. Giving voice to an unwelcome state and set of circumstances, and calling upon God’s power to manifest them is seriously unhelpful and ill advised – yet this is done more often than not. People so often pray for what they want – and in so doing accentuate wanting. It is desire and expectancy, coupled with a state of gratitude, that empowers prayer. Please is about desire and expectancy as the 5th plane is about sacredness.
These two attitudes of being are profoundly linked. Desire is seen as sacred in Sufism – as it is in Buddhism too, actually; it is attachment to desire, or craving that leads to suffering. Desire itself is the most sacred evidence of the love felt between two things or people whose soul destiny is to share and cooperate in the sublime, divine act of creativity. Through sacredness, this essential life-force is optimised.
Sacredness rarely arises of itself – the exception is when Nature reaches awesome extremes of beauty and in the passages at birth and death. Otherwise we need to create it. We do this with such practices as chanting the holy names, burning incense and lighting candles, kneeling before an altar and spontaneously making up prayer. Sometimes even religious practices can awaken this state if the practitioner is sincere and free of cynicism and habit. A general rule of thumb is useful too: peace leads to sacredness and sacredness leads to peace.
Spirituality has been corrupted and distorted so badly and for so long that many people throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some reject God simply because they see how insincere some priests are and feel the emptiness and foolishness of so much of the scriptures. That’s sad, and unnecessary.
We can find our own way to the Source. The malpractices of religions are to be seen as tests. The gullible are gulled. Be more aware then! Do not accept the false gold of doctrine and prescribed morality, work it out for yourself – find out what makes you feel sacred and follow that. It takes more than 4th plane courage – it takes 5th plane inspiration.
 
IMMACULATE STATE
There is a state of being, which we can learn to reach at will, where distinctions between good and bad, or right and wrong, simply fade into nothing. Such a state equates to the 6th plane of consciousness, called the Immaculate State by Sufis, and corresponds in the 7 Words system to the word Sorry.
Typically in human interactions, motivations clash and feelings are hurt, egos are bruised and material property is lost or damaged. The word Sorry is demanded – wrongly perhaps – to admit guilt rather than fault, as if to suggest “you are at fault, therefore guilty, therefore a bad person… and I require your reluctant apology to demonstrate my superiority and to diminish your ego-strength”. Horrible isn’t it!
Yet in the immaculate state, on the 6th Plane, one has no attachment to ego, nor even morality and therefore, and especially, not judgement. Here, by Sorry, we mean “my insensitivity has disturbed your peace of mind, and I regret that”.
Think of this as a place of perfect stillness, a white mountaintop, cold and pure, free of all emotion, clear sighted, clear minded and open to the clear blue sky of cosmic awareness. The world and its frenetic duplicity is scurrying about in the villages and cities – but these are as distant as one’s childhood days, vague memories of no concern because present perceptions are all-embracing and awakened.
To reach this enlightened state requires training in techniques of meditation. The normal mind – Gross Mind or Monkey Mind – is ill-equipped to maintain its equilibrium, so often jumping from one topic to another and delighting to find cause for argument and prove itself right at the expense of another’s wrongness. Through meditation, a serious student will learn how to still the Gross Mind so that the perceptions of the Subtle Mind are available. With this more refined approach to life one sees more clearly the mystery that is hidden beneath the apparent.
The fundamental mystery is that the apparent is not truth. Truth is subjective; “reality” is illusion in fact – we make it all up. This becomes quite clear when we maintain 6th Plane awareness for a while. Those who know of this, but have not experienced it, sound like empty drums when they do their preaching – and the wisdom becomes corrupted. Christians preach “Judgement is mine, saith the Lord”. That’s supposed to mean “leave it to Me”, not “I am a judgemental God”. The wisdom here is simple – “do not judge another as right or wrong; do not judge yourself as good or bad”.
And if you touch the 6th Plane, you can experience why this wisdom is so.
 
UNITY
In Sufism, there are “7 Planes of Consciousness”. These are metaphors for the different ways in which “light” – or energy – can exist. We study this phenomenon of the gradation of light using the number 7, partly because it is a convenient size (neither too small not too large for us to understand) and partly because this number appeals to humanity’s intuitive sense of cosmic truth. It is quite possible that we should really be focussing on 9 - the number of chakras used by Sufis, including one above the crown and one below the base - but for now, 7 may be all humanity's consciousness can stretch to understand.
We see that there is much agreement between mystics and scientists upon this major point – that energy takes on different qualities according to its rate of vibration. Whereas the latter group talks of wavelengths that give rise to colours, the former talks of Planes of Consciousness that begin with the heaviest expression of energy, materiality, and spans through differing realities towards the transcendent level. This level is the 7th Plane. It is called Unity by Sufism and corresponds to the word Yes in the 7 Words system.
We cannot speak of the experience of the 7th plane – simply because such experience is beyond us. We can conceptualise Unity, we can extrapolate what it must be like in theory, and we can aspire to touch the waves of its vastness as we might dip our toes into an ocean. Yet how can we, phenomenal beings, know the experience of the great and mysterious All-and-Everything that we represent by the word God. There is not even a hint of meaning in the sound of that word – which lacks any attempt to be onomatopoeic. In Arabic, Allah sounds like breath; in Aramaic Abwoon feels profoundly mysterious and creative, in Sanskrit Aum fills the world with music and a feeling of universal harmony. Sadly, saying the word God leads us nowhere spectacular at all.
Poets point towards the imagined knowledge of God – Leonard Cohen suggests we might need to “sink into the mystery” – and musicians and composers, perhaps Bach and Beethoven more than most, can take us to the threshold if we would but surrender to their magic. Artists try too – Roerich and others make it obvious that they’ve gone beyond, and actors also sometimes try to help us – I’m thinking now of Rowan Atkinson as a Christian minister in a film telling us that actually God is a mystery and whether we like it or not, we just have to accept that.
So there it is – acceptance and surrender, keywords for Yes, are required tools for the task. The more we let go of our grasping for knowledge, the more we are available to receive it. The less we control, the more we enjoy… it is the fool’s wisdom, the madzub in Sufism, the one with nothing to protect or defend, the one who trusts in his cloak and begging bowl. The word dervish means “threshold” or doorstep…and that’s how close we can get to the realm of the 7th plane.
 
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The Six Planes of Higher Consciousness

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 The Mystic's Life Lesson #4
 
 
 
 
 
On the day you thoughtfully turn the direction of your life toward higher consciousness and yearn to discover the consciousness that created and sustains you, you will begin the greatest adventure of your life. On that day the motive and the quest of your life are both changed. You no longer live for yourself but for something greater than you. You no longer are driven by the motive for personal gratification but for lasting fulfillment and personal transformation.
Your adventure in higher consciousness will test you, as well as thrill and satisfy you. Many times you may feel fearful as you stand before unknown dimensions of higher consciousness. Your mind, trying to guess what is about to happen, will never be adequate. Its presumptions are too limited and too predicated on previous experience in the outer world. Your emotions will be stretched beyond the normal comfort level, stretched until they can maintain universal love and revel in the ecstasy of pure being.
Your adventure requires your courage — more courage than you think you've got. You will also have to endure, to hang on and persevere, longer than you think you can.
You will need faith. At times it may seem faith is the only thing remaining to you. You will be tempted to let go of your faith and slide back to the turning point where you can forget about higher consciousness and your quest.
There is a need to be kind, especially to yourself. Your harsh judgments about yourself and the path can cause too many doubts and certain failure.
You need to be energetic and strong. The weak do not persevere and they give up pitifully early.
You will also need to be humble. There are times you may feel you don't have enough strength and wisdom to continue, times you desperately need inspiration, guidance, and strength from above.
Your journey through the stages of the heart, as it grows from the dark state to the clean, has been described in Stages of Mental/Emotional Awakening. It's very important to keep these stages of mental/emotional awakening in mind as reliable guideposts of your voyage. However, it's also very important to know the following levels of awareness which you will likely experience as you come home to your higher consciousness and become enabled to live in it as a new person.
As soon as you turn within and begin your adventure you experience an all-important realization which hopefully you never forget:
1 — Transcendence
Having made the significant redirection of your life, of your purpose and goals, you experience, in the quiet of the night, or looking out at the world through calm eyes, that the material world is essentially spirit. The material world is essentially conscious energy. While the world seems very dense and solid, this solidity is only a beautiful power of spirit and higher consciousness to make itself dense, "to crystallize" itself and occupy time and space. You, by one means or another, receive the conviction or revelation that the external world is made up of an essence or an energy which you can perceive or feel. This essence is also the primary substance, or the essential reality, of everyone and everything that exists. You realize that your nature, your personal nature, is essentially conscious energy or spirit. This you behold with your own superconscious sight; and the world, you find, has never seemed so beautiful as it now appears. You see both the hard, physical forms and the subtle plays of essence and energy within and around all living things and every object, big or small.
Realizing for once, and hopefully forever, that the physical world is truly what physicists say — energy — you have a new attitude about the entire universe. You realize how fluid and how changeable your world can be with the right application of consciousness. You see that your thoughts and feelings are plays of energy and that they do have an impact, an interplay, with the vast universe. Your thoughts and feelings, as well as your actions, are interrelated with the way the world is now and the way it is becoming in the future.
Many people, you realize, take hallucinogenic drugs in the hope of catching a glimpse of this energy and consciousness which you now — with the feeling of being at home — behold so calmly and naturally.
In this perception of the essence and energy within all living things and within all objects, you perceive more deeply how faith works. Faith brings about a change in circumstances. It causes change because all things and all people are rooted in, have their essence in, this same energy ocean. Here, in the unity of spirit, each person directs his convictions and activates his faith about a life and world that can be. A prayer or act of faith becomes a powerful movement in one part of the ocean of consciousness which then (or simultaneously) acts upon the consciousness and energy in another place, person, or situation.
You also see how important it is for your health to relax in the consciousness of the higher subtle energy so this dynamic force may most easily heal and rejuvenate the body which, after all, is truly a product of consciousness and energy.
Many who have this first experience of higher consciousness consider themselves enlightened and cannot conceive of higher levels of awareness beyond this staggering view of reality: that everything is consciousness and life is essentially conscious energy.
2 — Serene Knowledge
When you feel at home with the shocking and breathtaking realization of the universe as a play of energy or consciousness which you are able to behold through your heightened senses and subtle mind, you enter into a state of indescribably sweet serenity. Your serenity is so deep that it seems to pervade not only your bones and body but the air around you. The energy in your room, or car, or wherever you may go, has a beatific quality. Others may love to stand near you and many dogs and cats may wish to abide with you in the new atmosphere which radiates from your new level of consciousness.
In this state of serenity you are able to feel free from old habits, free to choose new and better ways to express yourself or spend your time. Your serenity enables greater freedom of choice and greater ability to be constructive than you have known before.
While perhaps the first level of higher consciousness is the most shocking — to behold the entire world, yourself, and life in an entirely new light is certainly mind-boggling — it is also quite surprising to find that the body and mind feel quite uncomfortable with serenity at first. While the serenity is so sweet and pleasant, there is a tendency from old thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the world to avoid what is so wonderful. There is resistance at first which tries to prevent the serenity from occurring. And, if the serenity nevertheless occurs, there is then a reluctance about staying in it or in allowing it to go on.
Further, there is a treacherous residual malice which strives to deprecate, deny, or criticize the serenity, to limit it or make it go away. There is the haunting feeling that to be serene is not "patriotic" or human; or some such rationale floods the mind in its desperation to tyrannize your organism once again with its conjectures, doubts, apprehensions, and wild free play of fears from those days before the dawn of higher consciousness.
It takes practice to accept the insights which you have gained about the world as consciousness and thus reestablish yourself in a serenity which enables you to thoroughly align your thoughts and feelings with your new state of well being. You may find it hard to accept serenity as a natural state because hardly anyone you have ever met has been serene. Often the temptation will be to think of yourself as lazy when you wish to attune with your inner self and enjoy the gleaming inner light.
However, with just a little observation, you will notice that in your new serenity you are more active and efficient than you have ever been before. You also relate to others more easily, and you can perceive and achieve goals more successfully.
In this serene level of higher consciousness you make choices and decisions about forming your new character, letting go of destructive flaws, and accepting and creating tendencies of character which are supportive of your new perceptions of yourself and the universe.
3 — Universal Abundance
Your realization of higher consciousness now inspires you with courage. You begin to know that all the strength you need to succeed in your quest will be instilled within you. This gift of courage from your higher consciousness is fully accepted and you feel very strong and powerful but are perfectly aware you do not own this courage, that it is bestowed on you as a gift through your loving surrender and attunement. In this state of courage you sense that whatever you truly need you will always have — or know how to attract it or achieve it.
In this state of courage you are finally able to let go of deep insecurities that plague most everyone: greed and covetousness. In your new security you find you do not have to be greedy, and the tension and misery you used to feel is released as you throw greed away. It is no longer a necessary part of your makeup. You also find you do not need to desire anything anyone else in the world has. You sense in your courage that whatever you truly need will be yours, without question. Your ally, higher consciousness, will enable true fulfillment. Further, you don't feel so much of a need for material things. They can be great tools but they are no longer important to you as symbols of accomplishment or self-esteem.
It is at this point in your adventure that your courage will be tested many times. Having the conviction of true courage, as well as freedom from greed and covetousness, your life will very likely put you to the test. This testing is a subtle agreement between your higher consciousness and your world somehow. You will be given many opportunities to find out if there is any residual greed hiding within you. Again and again you will be made to feel lacking — without some object or situation that would be very helpful to you. At that point you will find out whether you feel greed or perhaps even wish to have the monies and objects someone else has. You will be tested many times, and may fail several times before you go on to the next level of the adventure. What has to be established within you is a courage that prevails against any challenge. Certainly it's alright to have fear, but true courage is involved in facing that fear and succeeding in spite of it, not allowing it to diminish your courage in any way.
The quest will determine whether you want to use your old-fashioned, cunning ways, developed before the dawn of higher consciousness, or whether you mean it when you say you wish to live a life in higher consciousness and that it truly is capable of sustaining you.
So many people talk a good game and cite many miraculous events of the higher consciousness helping them out. However, all too many aspirants have given up and broken faith with their higher consciousness, their true nature, when their life situation was critical, when the results were very, very important, and when no help or inspiration seemed forthcoming. These "edge-of-the-precipice" experiences, as some people call them, are the true builders of character and the real transformers of devotees.
It is at this third level that many initiates in higher consciousness pause for a very long time and gratefully recede into fleeting moments of serenity rather than face the unknown and go forward.
It would not be correct, of course, to maintain that one simply relies on the higher consciousness to do everything. The adventurer seeks to attune mind, body, hands, feet, words, everything, with the higher consciousness and seeks greater common sense, among other things, to know how best to serve the higher consciousness in the practical, day-to-day matters of life. The person who is passing this test of true courage is not sitting somewhere in a dark room waiting for somebody to throw a loaf of bread or a gold brick through the window. He or she is actively moving about in life but living that life from a sense of deep inner satisfaction and a willingness to cooperate with the great inner wisdom and goodness.
When true courage is accepted and it becomes part of your nature, and when greed and covetousness have truly fallen from you — no longer being your tendencies, however deeply hidden — then another level of higher consciousness makes its appearance.
4 — Your Vast Self
In this level your sense of self expands. Having grown in higher consciousness, you are now bestowed the ability to let go of your egocentric drive. Releasing the tremendous self-preoccupation that most people have, your sense of self lightly and easily expands outward from you, moving out beyond the confines of the body, extending and extending not only to the horizon but beyond the horizon. There is a rush of awareness that you are conscious energy yourself, pure awareness, and that you are not confined to a body. You can extend your being, your essence, not only as a general glow or radiance but this marvelous light of your being, this marvelous power of your being, can extend to infinity — and it does.
This infinite, vast experience is filled with ecstasy and delight. It is called cosmic consciousness by many people. You realize your cosmic, or universal, self. You realize what mystics through the ages have experienced through their profound meditations. You are alive as never before.
Usually these expansions last about half an hour and then you return to physical awareness and feel that once again you are abiding within your body. The nerves have to be strengthened in order for this experience to occur in the first place and if you are to have expansions that last more than twenty minutes to a half hour, then your nerves will have to be very strong because the rush of energy is very powerful. 1
As a result of this expansion you feel deep empathy and attunement with all people. No one is a stranger to you. Everyone you meet somehow feels like a relative, a person from your family, from your circle of friends and acquaintances.
This cosmic consciousness, or expansion, is not without its tests and difficulties. Very often you will find you are about to have the experience but you choke. That is, you clutch, you hold back, you do not dare let go of your self-interest or your attachment to your body. It is often difficult to expand even a little bit, let alone allow the process to extend to seeming infinity — which is indeed what can happen.
So, many aspirants balk at this point. They are afraid to let go of their body and to experience a change in their perception of who they really are. It's scary, and it is not known to the beginner what is going to happen. There is a fear of losing oneself, or of dying, of being very unsafe. What should happen if one is out there and the phone rings or somebody comes into the room? Perhaps one won't be able to get back in the body. All these fears have to be dealt with by a patient acceptance of the higher consciousness and a willingness to work with it and to understand it — to the extent one is ever able to understand something so great.
Sometimes it takes a person over a year to be willing to trust this expansive pressure that lovingly builds up, usually in the chest area. Some people who begin the experience and then, through fear, stop it, give up the spiritual path and live in quiet terror that the expansion might happen to them sometime. They find the feeling utterly horrible, their sense of self being altered so. Often one needs the help and inspiration of a Master/Guru or adept who routinely experiences this state. Such guidance encourages the aspirant to be patient and to be pleased when the expansion tries to happen.
The difficulty is based entirely on the strength of the ego and its predilection for self-centeredness. The higher consciousness will not overwhelm the ego. It awaits the time that the ego is willing to experience something beyond itself, willing to welcome a new state of love and freedom to occur, and willing to surrender control to the higher power, the greater wisdom, and the true love within.
Many seekers do not understand and do not have what it takes. They try the expansion a few times, find themselves unwilling or unable to cooperate with the outward thrust of the self. They return to the fork in the road where higher consciousness began and they willingly take the other road: the road of self-confinement.
On the other hand, those who persist and understand that the problem is the thickness of their ego — the intensity of their ego-centricity — find the experience so wonderful they yearn that it not end. And each day that goes by thereafter they yearn to experience the expansion again and again and again. They feel, both in the expansion and in the afterglow of it, that they are surrounded by blessedness. They behold everything as tinged with a sweet ecstasy. The serenity of the second level has been totally replaced by an ecstatic and dynamic play of consciousness. It is thrilling to be alive in every tissue! Every moment, every second, has a delight in it for the one who meets with this adventure and dares to be changed in so fundamental a way.
5 — Integration
Having experienced the exaltation and also the transformation of one's sense of self in level four, a very pleasant and necessary state now occurs. The aspirant, in his growth in higher consciousness, gets comfortable with the new state of expansion and is able to sense the freed and expanded ego — the transformed ego — quite easily throughout the day. A quality of calmness and an ability to perform well in daily life now occurs.
It is obviously a necessity that one not be so preoccupied with one’s ecstasy that one sticks one's hand in front of a saw or drives crazily down the road into other cars. While such empty-headed incompetence is very unlikely, it is nevertheless a possibility. So, the ecstatic states of the previous level are generally experienced in the quiet of one's apartment or meditation area. In this following stage, that magnificent exaltation becomes so consolidated within you that you become calm enough to live in a degree of this higher awareness night and day. You gain the ability to maintain a higher level of consciousness while in the outer world. You also feel great ease in entering meditation and going into a more intimate experience with higher consciousness as well.
So, in this state you become deeply calm very, very calm. You are also able to maintain this calmness while you are extremely busy. The keynote of this advanced stage in higher consciousness is "calmly active, actively calm." Whether in motion or at rest, you have a calmness that enables the ecstasy and blessedness of higher consciousness to abide with you in your job, home life, and any other activity.
6 — Creative Mind
You are now tempted and rather severely tested. The question is: Whose will is to be done in your life?
You realize that you could probably direct your energy to heal people, to create millions of dollars for yourself, or to benefit yourself in some other particularly handsome way. You could become quite famous. You very likely could be considered a saint — and a great one. Probably you could develop occult powers and read minds or project your astral body to distant places. You could predict the future very likely. In fact, at times you seem not to be able to keep yourself from knowing what's on another person's mind or from being very "lucky" in your career world.
It's a difficult time, in fact. You don't know to what extent you should use your higher consciousness to benefit yourself or others. After all, there are so many needy people in the world! You may feel like a pitiless monster — or an arrogant scrooge — if you don't use all of your higher consciousness to help those who are suffering or who are less fortunate than you are.
These trials often send people back out on the road away from higher consciousness. It's amazing, but even having experienced so much of the higher consciousness many aspirants, at this point, get the opinion they are now empowered to play God and it is their calling to run about the planet using their higher powers to zap and influence people and situations. "After all," they ask, "did we get this higher power, this higher consciousness, only to do nothing with it?"
This series of trials may go on for ten, twenty years, or a lifetime. It's a state easy to talk about, but hard to deal with when one is in the testing and tempting phase. Many fail. Many decide that they are authorized and empowered to run about playing God.
However, those who appreciate the higher consciousness do not have much of a problem. They simply seek the wisdom and guidance of their higher consciousness about what they should do next. They know it is only by the power of the higher consciousness they progressed from one level to the next. They recall it's only due to an inspired sense of need for the higher consciousness that they ever began the path. It's only the grace of the higher consciousness and the Lord within that has enabled them in any way to stay on the path. For such devotees it's quite simple. They submit themselves to the higher consciousness and seek its will. They don't want to do their own individual will. They've observed that many times in their lives when they've tried to use their limited thought, insight, and power they often hurt themselves or others. Such aspirants seek, through their gratitude and appreciation of the higher consciousness, to attune their personal will with the higher will — with the wisdom of the higher consciousness which they have learned to love and trust.
And so they go past the many hurdles and precipices that other seekers find difficult to deal with. These seekers of the higher will are blessed to be trained, through life, to attune more and more readily with the higher will. They learn how to recognize it, how to distinguish between the higher will and their old-fashioned, less adept will. They find the higher will is easily revealed and expressed through them. This alignment of one's being with the higher consciousness brings immense satisfaction and a sense of being a sharer in the ongoing creativity of this universe.
These wise aspirants seek to humbly, through their prayer and meditative life, further the act of creation, further the expression of goodness, in their daily lives. They feel no conflict between their personal will and the higher will because they have completely submitted their personal will to the higher will. They seek to live in attunement. As some saints say, "I am the instrument. You, 0 Lord, are the operator of this instrument."
These are but the mere beginning levels of enlightenment. After these basic tests and triumphs there are ever-new and ever-more delightful experiences in store. There is no limit to the adventure and the reward of intimacy with your higher consciousness and your Creator.
REFLECTION
I was as if dead; now, I am alive!
 

 

1  Usually, the nerves are made stronger through mental/emotional health, a wholesome diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables, daily physical exercise, and the practice of happiness.

Kebatinan

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A Wayang puppet representing Semar
Kebatinan, also called Kejawen[1], Agama Jawa[2] and Kepercayaan[3] is a Javanese religious tradition, consisting of an amalgam of animistic, Hindu-Buddhist, and Islamic, especially Sufi, beliefs and practices. It is rooted in the Javanese history and religiosity, syncretizing aspects of different religions.

Definitions[edit]

The term kebatinan is being used interchangeably with kejawen[1], Agama Jawa[2] and Kepercayaan[3][4], although they are not exactly the same:
  • Kebatinan: "the science of the inner"[1], "inwardness"[4], derived from the Arabic word batin, meaning "inner" or "hidden".[5]
  • Kejawen: "Javanism"[1][6], the culture and religious beliefs and practices of the Javanese people of Central Java and East Java.[7][6] It is "not a religious category, but refers to an ethic and a style of life that is inspired by Javanist thinking".[8]
  • Agama Jawa: "the Javanese religion"[2]
  • Kepercayaan: "belief"[3], "faith"[4], full term: Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa,[web 1] "Believer in One Mighty God".[9] "Kepercayaan" is an official cover term for various forms of mysticism in Indonesia. According to Caldaroda, it "is not an apt characterization of what the mystical groups have in common".[4] It includes kebatinan, kejiwan and kerohanian.[4]
Kebatinan is the inner-directed cultivation of inner peace, rooted in pre-Islamic traditions[10], whereas kejawen is outer-directed and community-oriented, manifesting in rituals and practices.[10]

History[edit]


A Wayang puppet representing Garuda
Java has been a melting pot of religions and cultures, which has created a broad range of religious belief.

Animism[edit]

Animism was the first religion at Java.[11]

Shaivism and Buddhism[edit]

Indian influences came first with Hinduism, which reached the Indonesian Archipelago as early as first century.[12] In the 4th century, the kingdom of Kutai in East Kalimantan, Tarumanagara in West Java, and Holing (Kalingga) in Central Java, were among the early Hindu states established in the region. Several notable ancient Indonesian Hindu kingdoms are Mataram, famous for the construction of the majestic Prambanan temple, followed by Kediri and Singhasari. Since then Hinduism along with Buddhism spread across the archipelago and reached the peak of its influence in the 14th century. The last and largest among Hindu-Buddhist Javanese empires, Majapahit, influenced the Indonesian archipelago.[citation needed]
Shaivism and Buddhism penetrated deeply into society, blending with the indigenous tradition and culture.[13] One conduit for this were the ascetics, called resi, who taught mystical practices. A resi lived surrounded by students, who took care of their master's daily needs. Resi's authorities were merely ceremonial. At the courts, Brahmin clerics and pudjangga (sacred literati) legitimised rulers and linked Hindu cosmology to their political needs.[13] Small Hindu enclaves are scattered throughout Java, but there is a large Hindu population along the eastern coast nearest Bali, especially around the town of Banyuwangi.
Nowadays Bali is still pre-dominantly Hinduist, while Buddhist communities also exist in the major cities, primarily among the Chinese Indonesian.

Islam[edit]

Java "adopted"[14][note 1] Islam around 1500 CE.[14] Islam was first accepted by the elites, which contributed to the further spread and accpetance. Sufi and other versions of Folk Islam were most easily integrated in the folk religion of Java.[14] The learned versions of Sufi Islam and shari`a-oriented Islam were integrated at the courts with rituals and myths of the existing Hindu-Buddhist civilisation.[14] Clifford Geertz described this as abangan and priyayi, "the lower class and elite varieties of Javanese syncretism".[14]
The Kyai, the Muslim scholar of the writ became the new religious elite as Hindu influences receded. Islam recognises no hierarchy of religious leaders nor a formal priesthood, but the Dutch colonial government established an elaborate rank order for mosque and other Islamic preaching schools. In Javanese pesantren (Islamic schools), The Kyai perpetuated the tradition of the resi. Students around him provided his needs, even peasants around the school.[13]

Christianity[edit]

Christianity was brought to Java by missionaries, first from the Dutch Reformed Church, and in the 20th century also by Roman Catholics, such as the Jesuits and the Divine Word Missionaries. Nowadays there are Christian communities, mostly Reformed in the larger cities, though some rural areas of south-central Java are strongly Roman Catholic. Roman Catholics and other Christian groups have been persecuted for their beliefs such as a ban on Christmas services.[15]

Islam and kebatinan[edit]

Nowadays more than 90 percent of the people of Java are Muslims, on a broad continuum between abangan and santri.[citation needed] Although Java is nominally Islamitic, kejawen, the syncretic Javanese culture, is a strong undercurrent.[16] Pre-Islamic Javan traditions have encouraged Islam in a mystical direction.[citation needed]
Some Javanese texts relate stories about Syekh Siti Jenar (also known as Syekh Lemah Abang) who had conflicts with Wali Sanga, the nine Islamic scholars in Java, and the Sultanate of Demak.[17][18] Although Syekh Siti Jenar was a sufi whose teaching were similar with Al-Hallaj[citation needed], most of his followers (Ki Kebo Kenanga) come from Kebatinan.[citation needed] Some historians have doubted the existence of Syekh Siti Jenar , suggesting the stories represent conflicts between Kebatinan and Islam in the past.[citation needed]
With the Islamisation of Java there emerged a loosely structured society of religious leadership, revolving around kyais, Islamic experts possessing various degrees of proficiency in pre-Islamic and Islamic lore, belief and practice.[13] The kyais are the principal intermediaries between the villages masses and the realm of the supernatural. However, this very looseneess of kyai leadership structure has promoted schism. There were often sharp divisions between orthodox kyais, who merely instructed in Islamic law, with those who taught mysticism and those who sought reformed Islam with modern scientific concepts.
As a result, the Javanese recognize two broad streams of religious commitment:[19][note 2]
  1. Santri or putihan ("pure ones"), those who pray, performing the five obligatory daily ritual prayers.[19] They are more orthodox in their Islamic belief and practice[13], and oppose the abangan, who they consider to be heterodox.[22]
  2. Abangan, "the red ones", who do not strictly observe the Islamic rituals.[19] They have mixed pre-Islamic animistic and Hindu-Indian concepts with a superficial acceptance of Islamic belief[13], and emphasize the importance of the purity of the inner person, the batin.[19]
This distinction between "the High Islam or scripturalist, shari`a-oriented Islam of the `ulama"[23] and "living local Islam"[23] or "Folk Islam"[23] or "popular Islam"[23] is not restricted to Java, but can be found in other Islamic countries as well.[23]
Ernest Gellner has developed an influential model of Muslim society, in which this dichotomy is central:[23]
He sees a dialectical relationship between the two, with periods of scripturalist dominance followed by relapses into emotional, mystical, magical folk Islam. Modernity — especially urbanisation and mass literacy — unsettles the balance between the two, by eroding the social bases of folk Islam. An irreversible shift to scripturalist Islam occurs, which is in Gellner’s view the equivalent of secularisation in the West.[23]
Bruinessen finds this too limited, and distinguishes three overlapping spheres:[23]
  1. Shari`a-oriented Islam,
  2. Sufism (mystical Islam, which has its learned and popular variants),
  3. The periphery of local rituals, local shrines, local spirit cults and heterodox beliefs and practices in general.[note 3]
Javanese syncretistic religiousness has a strong popular base, outnumbering the santri and the support for Islamic political parties.[24][web 2] Choy relates this to a Javanese apparent openness to new religions, but filtering out only those elements which fit into the Javanese culture.[25] Choy mentions several reasons for this nominal Islamic identity:[26]
  1. The Islamic scholars in Java have been trained in curricula which were geared for social conditions of two or three centuries ago, lacking the ability to impart the spirit and sense of Islam;[25]
  2. The inability to summarise the priciples of Islam in understandable basic points which can be applied to daily life;[26]
  3. Kebatinan can be learned and understood without the need to learn Arabic.[27]
In the early 20th century, several groups became formalised, developing systemetised teachings and rituals, thus offering a 'high' form ofabangan religiosity, as an alternative to the 'high' Islam.[28] Bruinessen opines that the kebatinan-movements is a deliberate rejection of scriptural Islam[29], which arose out of "folk Islam".[14]

Characteristics[edit]


A Javanese man meditating under Banyan tree. Dutch East Indies, before 1940.

Aim[edit]

Kebatinan is derived from the Arabic word batin, meaning "inner" or "hidden"[5], or "inner self".[30] It is a metaphysical search for harmony within one's inner self, connection with the universe, and with an Almighty God.[30] Kebatinan believe in a "super-consciousness" which can be contacted through meditation.[27]

Beliefs[edit]

Kebatinan is a combination of occultism, metaphysics, mysticism and other esoteric doctrines[30] from Animistic, Hinduistic, Buddhist and Islamic origins.[citation needed] Although the Javanese culture is tolerant, and open to new religions, only those qualities are accepted and filtered which fit into the Javanese culture, character and personality.[25] Javanese ideals combine human wisdom (wicaksana), psyche (waskita) and perfection (sempurna). The follower must control his/her passions, eschewing earthly riches and comforts, so that he/she may one day reach enlightened harmony and union with the spirit of the universe.
According to Choy, the Kebatinan have no certain prophet[31], sacred book[31], nor distinct religious festivals and rituals. Nevertheless, various kebatinan-movements have their own foundational writings and founders.[32][33]
A kebatinan practitioner can identify with one of the six officially recognized religions, while still subscribe to the kebatinan belief and way of life.

Membership[edit]

Although kebatinan is a predominantly Javanese tradition, it has also attracted practitioners from other ethnic and religious groups, such as Chinese and Buddhists[34], and foreigners from Australia and Europe.[9] President Suharto counted himself as one of its adherents.[citation needed] Their total membership is difficult to estimate as many of their adherents identify themselves with one of the official religions.[35]

Official recognition[edit]

The Indonesian state ideology strives toward a unified nation, recognizing only monotheism. Meanwhile, there is also a tolerance for non-recognized religions.[16] A broad plurifomiy of religions and sects exist. In the middle of 1956, the Department of Religious Affairs in Yogyakarta reported 63 religious sects in Java other than the official Indonesian religions. Of these, 22 were in West Java, 35 were in Central Java, and 6 in East Java.[13]
These include also kebatinan-groups, such as Sumarah and Subud. This loosely organized current of thought and practice was legitimized in the 1945 constitution[citation needed], but failed to attain official recognition as a religion.[9] In 1973 it was recognized as Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (Indonesian: Believer in One Mighty God[9]), but withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Religion and placed under the jurisdiction of the ministry of Education and Culture.[9]

Practices[edit]

A variety of practices is being used in kebatinan to acquire ilmu[36][note 4], namely tiraka[37][36][38][note 5] and tapa[37] or tapabrata.[38][note 6]
Many Kebatinan followers practice in their own way to seek spiritual and emotional relief. These practices are not performed in churches or mosques, but at home or in caves or on mountain perches. Meditation in Javanese culture is a search for inner self wisdom and to gain physical strength. This tradition is passed down from generation to generation.[citation needed]

Meditation[edit]

There are several tapa:
  • tapa Ngalong (meditation by hanging from a tree)
  • tapa Kungkum (Meditation under small waterfall or meeting point of 2-3 rivers / Tempuran / Tjampuhan)

Fasting[edit]

Fasting is a common practice employed by Javanese spiritualists in order to attain discipline of mind and body to get rid of material and emotional desires:
  • tapa Mutih (abstention from eating anything that is salted and sweetened, only eat/drink pure water & rice),
  • tapa Senen-Kemis (fasting on Monday-Thursday)
  • tapa Ngebleng (fasting for a longer period, usually 3-5-7 days)

Pantheistic worship[edit]

Kebatinan often implies pantheistic worship, because it encourages sacrifices and devotions to local and ancestral spirits. These spirits are believed to inhabit natural objects, human beings, artifacts, and grave sites of important wali (Muslim saints). Illness and other misfortunes are traced to such spirits, and if sacrifices or pilgrimages fail to placate angry deities, the advice of a dukun or healer is sought.

Other practices[edit]

Other practices include:
  • tapa Pati-Geni (avoiding fire or light for a day or days and isolating oneself in dark rooms),
  • tapa Ngadam (stand/walk on foot from sunset till sunset, 24 hours in Silence)

Historical texts[edit]

Kebatinan and kejawen practices are extensively written about in texts that are held in the Sanabudaya library in Yogyakarta, and the main Kraton Libraries of Solo and Yogyakarta.[citation needed] Many of the texts are deliberately elliptical so that those who do not work with either initiates or teachers are unable to ascertain or understand the esoteric doctrines and practices.[citation needed] In quite a few cases codified texts with secret systems to "unlock" the meanings are employed.[citation needed]
But according to Bruinessen, the writing down of kebatinan teachings was a novelty which appeared with the institutinalisation of the kebatinan-movements in the beginning of the 20th century.[29]

Kebatinan organisations[edit]

The appearance of formal kebatinan movements reflects the modernisation of Indonesia.[1]. Kebatinan movements appeared early in the 1900s in urban traditional elite circles[14], together with the rise of nationalism and the Muhammadiyah, a modernist Islamic movement.[1]. Hardopusoro, one of the earliest kebatinan-movements, had strong links with the Theosophical Society.[1] Some remained very elitist, while others also accpeted lower urban and rural followings, thereby popularising abangan, or syncretistic Islam, as an alternative to shari`a-oriented Islam.[14]
After the independence of 1949, the kebatinan received political support and attracted large followings.[39] Kebatinan-movements were seen by secular nationalistic elites as allies against the rise of political Islam.[29] The political struggle between the Muslim parties and the Communists and Nationalists lead to a sharper demarcation between syncretistic and shari`a-oriented Islam, whereby most kebatinan movements affiliated with the Communist or Nationalist Parties.[14][note 7]
Umbrella organisations representing several hundred kebatinan organisations, lobbied to attain legitimacy and recognition as an official religion.[1][3] They are registered at the HKP (Himpunan Penghayat Kepercayaan), which is controlled by the PAKEM (Pengawas Aliran Kepercayaan Masyarakat).[web 2] After the Suharto-era (1967-1998), the kebatinan-movements lost political support[39], and have become less dynamic, their adherents avoiding public engagement.[1]
Altogether several hundred kebatinan-groups are or have been registered, the best-known of which are:[note 8]

Subud[edit]

Subud was founded in the 1920s by Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. The name Subud was first used in the late 1940s when Subud was legally registered in Indonesia. The basis of Subud is a spiritual exercise commonly referred to as the latihan kejiwaan, which was said by Muhammad Subuh to be guidance from "the Power of God" or "the Great Life Force". The aim of Subud is to attain perfection of character according to the will of God.[52] Only when passion, heart and mind are separated from the inner feeling is it possible to make contact with the "Great Life Force" which permeates everywhere.[53]
The name Subud is formed from the words susila ("the good character of man"[52]), budhi ("the force of the inner self"[52]) and dharma ("trust in God"[52]). These words are derived from the Sanskrit words suzila, bodhi and dharma.[web 3]
Muhammad Subuh saw the present age as one that demands personal evidence and proof of religious or spiritual realities, as people no longer just believe in words. He claimed that Subud is not a new teaching or religion but only that the latihan kejiwaan itself is the kind of proof that humanity is looking for. He also rejected the classification of Subud as a kebatinan organization.There are now Subud groups in about 83 countries, with a worldwide membership of about 10,000.[54]

Sumarah[edit]

Sumarah was formed in the 1930s by Pak Hardo, Pak Sadina and Pak Sutadi, without a formal organisation.[55] In those early days, the younger members were taught kanoman, occult practices including invulnerability for knives and guns. This was regarded as essential in the struggle against the Dutch colonial powers.[55] Around 1950, when Indonesia becale an independent nation, Sumarah was streamlined and organised by dr. Surono. The emphasis shifted from magic to "surrender to God".[55] From 1957 on internal struggles surfaced between dr. Surono and the founders Pak Hardo and Pak Sadina, leading to a change in leadership by dr. Ary Muthy in 1967.[55]
Sumarah theology maintains that humankind's soul is like the holy spirit, a spark from the Divine Essence, which means that we are in essence similar to God. In other words "One can find God within oneself," a belief similar to the "I=God" theory found in Hindu-Javanese literature.[56]
According to Sumarah theology, man and his physical and spiritual world are divided into three parts:[56]
  • The physical body and brain. One section, Sukusma, governs the passions. In the brain, the faculty of thinking has two functions:
    • To record memories
    • To serve as a means of communion with God
  • The invisible world, which is situated within the chest. It is the Jiwa, the ineffable soul, which provides the driving forces governing thought and reason. It is here that the deeper feeling (Rasa) is located.
  • The more elusive and sublime world. The most elusive and sublime world is hidden somewhere near the anatomical heart.
Sumarah's conception of God is different from Islam. It has a pantheistic vision of reality, considering God to be present in all living beings.[56]

Pangestu[edit]

Pangestu was founded in 1949.[57] It's doctrine was revealed in 1932 to Sunarto Mertowarjoyo, and written down in the Setat Sasangka Djati by R.T. Harjoparakowo and R. Trihardono Sumodiharjo Pangastu.[57] It describes the way to obtain wahyu, the blessing of God.[57]

Sapta Dharma[edit]

Sapta Dharma was founded in 1952 by Harjo Sapura, after he received a relevation.[51] According to Sri Pawenang, it was God's wish to provide the Indonesian people with a new spirituality in atime of crisis.[51] It's aim is to free man of his passions.[57]
According to Sapta Dharma teachings, suji (meditation) is necessary to pierce through different layers of obstacles to reach Semar, the guardian spirit of Java.[58] Theory and practice resemble Indian Kundalini yoga, aiming at awakening the Kundalini energy and guiding it through the chakras.[57]

Majapahit Pancasila[edit]

Majapahit Pancasila[note 9] was founded by W. Hardjanta Pardjapangarsa.[53] It is based in Javanese Hindu-yogic practices[60], c.q. Kundalini yoga[53], rather than Balinese ritual practice as is prevalent in Parisada Hindu Dharma.[60] According to Hardjanta, his meditation practices also lead to invulnerability for knives, daggers and other weapons.[61]

Spread of kebatinan[edit]

Malaysia[edit]

Kebatinan beliefs have spread to some parts of Malaysia in which certain individuals have combined it with Islamic concepts (e.g. proclaiming themselves to be new-age Islamic prophets, but delivering messages that are a combination of Islamic and kebatinan beliefs). This has led to the Malaysian Islamic authorities declaring elements of kebatinan to be "syirik" (shirk) and un-Islamic. Kebatinan interpretations of Islam are widespread in Malaysia among practitioners of silat, traditional healers and some preachers (such as Ayah Pin and other self-proclaimed Islamic prophets).

Netherlands[edit]

In the Netherlands, the former colonial power in Indonesia, some kebatinan-groups are active.[62]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up ^ Bruinessen: "Java was converted to Islam quite late; the process started seriously around 1500CE, that is, at the time of the great Alevi rebellions. Adoption of Islam is perhaps a better term than conversion, for the Javanese were deliberately syncretistic. For many of the new Muslims Islam, especially in its Sufi variety, was a welcome additional source of spiritual power, not a substitute for what they already had."[14]
  2. Jump up ^ Anthropologist Clifford Geertz made a well-known, though criticised, threefold distimction between abangan, antri and priyayi.[web 2][20] The priyayi are the descendants of the high class and court members, were gurus taught the Hindu-Buddhist art of inner cultivation[21], which stayed alife in the interior areas of Java.[6] Geertz noticed that the priyayi play a central role in the teaching of kejawen and kebatinan to the abangan.[21]
  3. Jump up ^ Bruinessen: "This third sphere was no doubt in most parts of the world for many years the one that had by far the greatest numbers of adherents. It has often been through Sufism that people from the heterodox periphery gradually moved towards some degree of conformity with orthodoxy."[23]
  4. Jump up ^ knowledge, power
  5. Jump up ^ "Fasting"[37], "ascetic exercises"[36], "spiritual techniques"[38]
  6. Jump up ^ "austerity"[37], "spiritual techniques"[38]
  7. Jump up ^ The relation between religion c.q. "spirituality", politics and (post-)colonial struggles is not unique to Indonesia. In India, Hindu reform movements involved both religious and social reforms, for example the Brahmo Samaj[40], Vivekananda, who modernised Advaita Vedanta[41], Aurobindo[40] and Mahatma Gandhi[40]. In Buddhist countries, Buddhist modernism was a response against the colonial powers and the western culture.[42] In Sri Lanka, Theravada Buddhism was revitalised in the struggle against the colonial rule. The Theosophical Society played an essential role here.[43][44][45] In China, Taixu propagated a Humanistic Buddhism, which is again endorsed by Jing Hui, the (former) abbott of Bailin Monastery.[46] In Japan, Buddhism adopted nationalistic politics to survive in the modern era, in which it lost support from the government.[47][42] zen was popularised in the west by adherents of this modern Buddhism, especially D.T. Suzuki and Hakuun Yasutani.[48][42]
  8. Jump up ^ See [49] for a longer list of kebatinan-organisatons
  9. Jump up ^ Full "Sanaata Dharma Majapahit Pancasila"[59], acronym "Sadhar Mapan"[59]

Sources[edit]

Published sources[edit]

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Web-sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Geertz, Clifford (1976), Religion of Java, University of Chicago Press 
  • Jones, David (2010), Magic & Mysticism in Java 
  • Kinney, Ann R.; Klokke, Marijke J.; Kieven, Lydia (2003), Worshiping Siva and Buddha: The Temple Art of East Java, University of Hawaii Press 
  • Retsikas, Konstantinos (2012), Becoming: An Anthropological Approach to Understandings of the Person in Java, Anthem Press 
  • Stange, Paul (year unknown), The evolution of Sumarah 

External links[edit]