(Continued in Part 3.)
The Purpose of Life – 2
Darwin described the physical evolution of life. But he left out the more important aspect: the spiritual evolution of life. Without including both, science and religion argue forever. But both are right: each simply sees a part of the puzzle.
Many mystics and sages demonstrate their knowledge of spiritual evolution, the Divine Plan for life. Moreover, many also demonstrate their awareness that spiritual evolution takes a metaphorically-circular path with a descent and ascent. In Jacob’s vision of the evolution of consciousness, the circle becomes a ladder.
We’ve already heard Jesus imply the great circle when he says:
“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (1)
Jacob had a dream and in it he saw the angels descending and ascending, which symbolizes the great circle of consciousness. Our descent into matter and ascent from it back to God is what’s being represented.
“And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it.” (2)
Spirit guide Silver Birch discussed its meaning:
“The ladder of Jacob was not a figment of the imagination, but the symbol of an eternal reality, for up that ladder every soul can climb, rung by rung. From earth to heaven it ranges, supported always by the power of the Great Spirit.” (3)
Then, in a passage which has been much misinterpreted, Jacob said upon awaking:
“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; (1) and I knew it not.
“And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (4)
But, in my view, Jacob is not speaking about a geographical location, later named Beth-El or the House of God, but the human body, with God hidden as the soul, divine spark, or Christ, in the spiritual heart or hridayam.
The spiritual heart is the gateway to Heaven. When the gateway permanently opens, we experience sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, which allows us access to “Heaven,” which is the ancients’ word for the Fifth Dimension or Mental Plane. (5)
More often than not, the sages imply the circle or look at a portion of it rather than the whole.
For instance, Ibn Arabi describes the portion that covers the descent from God and notes that what he calls “human” and what we call “Third-Dimensional” life is the halfway point on the sacred journey.
“Level after level he traverses the seven spheres and comes down into the Globe of Fire, then Air, then Water, then falls on earth; after that to the Minerals, Plants, Angels, then visits Mankind and the Jinn.
“Until he reaches the degree of human being he passes through many tribulations at every level of his descent; he meets with difficulties. Sometimes he rises; sometimes he goes low; and half a circle is completed till he is lodged with … mankind. “ (6)
Al-Ghazzali mentions only the ascent here: “By means of the ‘alchemy of happiness,’ [man] rises from the rank of beasts to that of angels. (7)
And then he describes it in more detail.
“Know, O beloved, that man was not created in jest or at random, but marvellously made and for some great end. Although he is not from everlasting, yet he lives for ever; and though his body is mean and earthly, yet his spirit is lofty and divine.
“When in the crucible of abstinence he is purged from carnal passions he attains to the highest, and in place of being a slave to lust and anger becomes endued with angelic qualities. Attaining that state, he finds his heaven in the contemplation of Eternal Beauty, and no longer in fleshly delights.” (8)
Rumi describes the ascent as well.
“I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist!
Proclaims in organ tones,
‘To Him we shall return.'” (9)
Archangel Michael has since expanded our knowledge by telling us that we were angels before we descended, not all angels go through lives as humans, some so out of service and not for Self-Knowledge, and finally that angels do not necessarily go through stages of evolution back to God but can be called back by the Mother for meritorious service.
Far Memory writer Joan Grant does not describe the circle but implies spiritual evolution when she suggests that “just as there is no plant that was not once a seed, so there is no god that was not once a man.” (10)
William Blake also shows an awareness of it when he says: “Every Tear from Every Eye Becomes a Babe in Eternity.” (11)
The spirit guide White Eagle names it specifically, explaining that:
“This is the way of life, to love not only to enjoy yourselves but to beautify, to benefit Earth, to help forward the spiritual evolution of all life. The responsibility rests on each one; on the individual soul the whole community depends.” (12)
White Brotherhood master Beinsa Douna gives an image similar to Rumi’s of ascending the ladder of consciousness that shows his appreciation of it.
“If this tree … understood the Law of Cosmic Love…, it would gradually be transformed into an animal; and if the animal … applied Cosmic Love, it would be transformed into a human being and the human being – into an angel.” (13)
(Continued in Part 5.)
(1) Jesus in Matthew 16:28.
(2) Genesis 28:12-3.
(3) Silver Birch, Silver Birch’s Teachings. Located at http:/www.angelfire.com/ok/SilverBirch/Tcon.htmlhttp:/www.angelfire.com/ok/SilverBirch/Tcon.html, n n.p.
(4) Genesis 28:16-7.
(5) See “Enlightenment and the Road Back to God,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/the-path-of-awareness/enlightenment-and-the-road-back-to-god/ and “Entering the Mental Plane – Part 1” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2013/07/entering-the-mental-plane-part-1/.
(6) Muhyidden Ibn Arabi, Kernel of the Kernel. trans. Ismail Hakki Bursevi. Sherborne: Beshara, n.d, 20.
(7) Al-Ghazzali, The Alchemy of Happiness. trans. Claud Field. Lahore: ASHRAF, 1971; c1964, 32.
(8) Ibid. , 17.
(9) Rumi in Anne Fremantle and Christopher. In Love with Love. 100 of the Greatest Mystical Poems. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1978, 58.
(10) Joan Grant, Winged Pharaoh. New York: Avon, 1956, 39.
(11) William Blake in Auguries of Innocence, downloaded from http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/blake01.html, 27 October 2006, line 67.
(12) White Eagle, Wisdom from White Eagle. White Eagle Publishing Trust, 80.
(13) Beinsa Douno, “The Cosmic Love,” Lectures, 24 August 1919.