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A Living Philosophy
There is a continual emphasis throughout Walter and Lao's work upon the distinction between knowing and repeating. For example, one can repeat information without necessarily knowing its meaning or significance.
In relation to this concept, the brain is seen as a recording mechanism for sensed experience, and the Mind, while acting through it, is distinct from it. Likewise, our senses are receptors for wave motion. They span only a limited bandwidth. We might extend this range with instruments like microscopes, telescopes, and the like, but they can also sometimes be deceived by motion.
I'm sure many are familiar with the phenomena of seeing a pinwheel moving clockwise when viewed from one direction and counter-clockwise when viewed from the other, or how a fast moving object can sometimes seem to stand still. There are similar illusions for every sense (hearing, touch, etc.), and not just sight. This fact is extremely important to bear in Mind whenever we observe things, even with our instrumentation (such as within "Empirical Science").
Only the Mind can encompass the whole spectrum, and in so doing, know the transcendental Cause of all manifest effects directly.
The concept of "like attracts like" is a Universal Law. Some might use the words "karma", "manifestation", "resonance", and others to describe it, but we will state it simply as: We create our experience through the choices we make.
We can also readily demonstrate the validity of this statement to ourselves: Our beliefs influence our perceptions, our focus shapes the demeanor that we project to others, and our actions
condition our habits. All of these things are controlled by the choices we have made, and continue to make.
Our very bodies are a reflection of our decisions (in both subtle and overt ways). Every time we think a particular thought or feel a particular feeling there is a corresponding re-arrangment of our bodily structure to make these things possible (e.g.: the generation of a neuropeptide, the release of a hormone, the flexing of a muscle, a facial expression, etc.). In fact, the term "deadly sin" is probably more literal than figurative in nature. For example, when one is continually stressed by emotions such as anger, one releases a chemical called cortisol that destroys the body in high enough quantities. Inversely, virtue provides coherence. Endorphins, a chemical released with the emotion of joy, builds up the body! Not only can our thoughts-feelings change our health for the better or for worse, the physical actions we direct towards ourselves, such as our lifestyle choices, can enrich or hinder our quality of life as a whole.
This concept applies not only to our inner or immediate personal environment, but extends outward as well. Within our interpersonal relationships, the ways in which we treat others influences how they treat us in response. As another example, using harsh words with someone might induce resentment or sadness, whereas kindly words may inspire happiness and gratitude. It is important to keep in Mind, that ultimately, while we cannot control how others may treat us, we can control how we act (and react) to the circumstances that we encounter. How do we extend ourselves out into the world? What situations do we place ourselves in?
Through continual presence, and the awareness it provides, we can free ourselves from doing things that we might later come to regret. Through proper understanding we can unlock our fullest potential. By knowing of the oneness that each of us shares with the Source of All things, our prayers cease to be a supplication to some indistinct entity somewhere outside of ourselves, but instead become a planning with this infinite potential within us. As Walter and Lao might put it, this would be to "work knowingly with God". We occupy our time with both "decentrating" (understanding inwardly) and "concentrating" (enacting these plans outwardly).
However, as pointed out above, much hinges on the decisions we make. How can anyone ask for anything which they are not willing to do themselves? Therefore, "God will work with you, but not for you." It is not enough to have a good intent, but also a constructive means of carrying it out. It is up to us to be self-responsible, stay present, stay informed, and refine or change our actions as necessary; Nature will do the rest.
The Universal Law of "like attracts like" was described above. Another term used for the same concept is Rhythmic Balanced Interchange, wherein whatever is given is always "regiven" in kind. To state it another way, by keeping all our interchanges with others orderly and balanced by constantly extending (or giving) the most constructive aspects of ourselves, it is reflected back to us (or "regiven" in return). We can choose to work together towards mutually beneficial goals, and thus create a civilization truly built upon civility.
To facilitate this ability, Walter and Lao give a model of the different stages of awareness that one passes through in their unfolding, and elaborate upon how it manifests within society in great detail. To give a quick synopsis:
• First Stage - "Primate Man" = The beginning of individualized existence, mainly focused on survival.
• Second Stage - "Pagan-Barbarian Man" = The beginning of sense consciousness, and to some limited extent, morality.
• Third Stage - "Mind Consciousness" = The beginning of inner spiritual knowing.
• Fourth Stage - "Cosmic Consciousness" = The beginning of the experience of oneness, the understanding that the same principles that lie within the core of one's being are the same that center all things.
• Fifth Stage - "Christ Consciousness" = The constant experience of oneness to the extent that one always "works knowingly with God" to a very fine degree.
While much of the first couple of stages might be clouded by fear and the idea of "might over right" to attain one's desires (i.e.: in a selfish and destructive manner without any thought to the consequences), the following stages yield knowledge which can fulfill all of our needs in constructive ways.
For example, the technology that arises from the inspired consciousness of the third stage can produce unlimited energy, which can then be directed towards the end of all material lack when used effectively (e.g.: clean food, clothes, shelter, and other necessities available for everyone). When used ineffectively, we channel it towards the making of weapons to kill each other, ourselves, and our environment through a myopic attempt to get what we want. Which do you choose personally? And what might society be like if all were to adopt such a view?
To describe the type of spirituality that arises from the consciousness of the later stages, we quote Richard Maurice Bucke, the author of Cosmic Consciousness (a book that probably influenced the above model to some degree):
In contact with the flux of cosmic consciousness all religions known and named today will be melted down. The human soul will be revolutionized. Religion will absolutely dominate the race. It will not depend on tradition. It will not be believed and disbelieved. It will not be a part of life, belonging to certain hours, times, occasions. It will not be in sacred books nor in the mouths of priests. It will not dwell in churches and meetings and forms and days. Its life will not be in prayers, hymns nor discourses. It will not depend on special revelations, on the words of gods who came down to teach, nor on any bible or bibles. It will have no mission to save men from their sins or to secure them entrance to heaven. It will not teach a future immortality nor future glories, for immortality and all glory will exist in the here and now. The evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in every eye. Doubt of God and of eternal life will be as impossible as is now doubt of existence; the evidence of each will be the same. Religion will govern every minute of every day of all life. Churches, priests, forms, creeds, prayers, all agents, all intermediaries between the individual man and God will be permanently replaced by direct unmistakable intercourse. Sin will no longer exist nor will salvation be desired. Men will not worry about death or a future, about the kingdom of heaven, about what may come with and after the cessation of the life of the present body. Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal, will feel and know that the entire universe with all its good and with all its beauty is for it and belongs to it forever. The world peopled by men possessing cosmic consciousness will be as far removed from the world of today as this is from the world as it was before the advent of self consciousness.
"Might of Ages", a painting by Walter Russell
Illumination: A Story
You awake to what seems to be a normal day. While tending to your regular activities, you notice that there is a subtle charge in the air that gives a mild sense of foreboding, as if something big is about to happen. You shake it off and continue to focus on the task at hand...
Then, all of a sudden, an intense feeling washes over you and a flash of light fills your field of vision as if an electrical short-circuit has occurred between the two hemispheres of your brain causing an explosive spark in the center of your head. Your awareness is ejected from your body, and when your vision clears, you notice that you are actually looking down at yourself from above.
You still have a sense of identity, but what is this aspect of you? Some sort of "Astral" form? You notice that there is a type of cord connecting you to your physical body, and with a small sense of relief, you realize that you are actually floating away, up into the sky. As you climb ever higher, the atmosphere begins to turn into a purplish haze. It becomes dark and you can make out stars in the distance. All of the colors are so vibrant!
With your distance out from Earth increasing, you reach a point where all of the stars instantly seem to disappear. An immensely deep blackness, a "formless void", is all around you. If ever there was such a thing as a complete sensation of "nothingness" or "emptiness" this moment would qualify.
Without warning, the blackness turns into a searing white Light. Its luminance is infinitely bright, so incredibly bright that words cannot describe it. The Light engulfs you, and in that moment, it is you. Everything is you. Not only do you know it with certainty, you feel it experientially.
A cascade of information floods your Mind, archetypal patterns that describe the birth and unfolding of all seemingly material forms.
The blackness is present before you again, and so is your sense of individual self. Your attention is drawn to the cord connecting you to your body. By focusing in on the cord, you realize that you can control your physical body on Earth through it as if by remote control. With some effort, you are able to make your body grab a pen and paper.
As you guide your body to sit down and write, you begin to describe the things you've experienced while your body draws it all out in a clumsy scrawl. In intermittent waves of activity, you click into this state of Oneness in Light, and back into dictating the information to your body.
This continues for some time, although you are not aware of it, until you feel yourself being drawn back towards Earth. Closer and closer you get. You can see the blue glow as you near Earth's atmosphere, whisps of cloud. The large structures upon Earth's surface that once had an ant-like size are now becoming more distinct.
You merge with your body, taking in a sharp breath and sputtering as you reconnect. You cannot see, being afflicted with a temporary blindness. Only indistinct blurs move in front of you. Concerned family members shuffle over to you, and one begins to speak.
"Are you alright?" You can hear their voice falter as if tears are welling up in their eyes.
"Yeah, I'm fine. But I can't even begin to describe what has happened...", you assure them. They begin to sob.
"We thought you were in an accident and became brain damaged. You've been acting very strangely, and we were seriously considering having you committed."
"Why? I've only been gone a little while."
"A little while?! You've been like this for over a month!"
Your throat becomes dry. Have you really been gone that long? It seemed like but a moment really. An absolutely ineffable moment of course, but a moment just the same. Whatever it was, you know with certainty that you've experienced something important. But the question is, will others take so keenly to your explanation of it?