MANY PATHS, ONE HORIZON
The story of mankind's spiritual awakening, and
of the part we play in it.
© Kit Constable Maxwell
4. SPIRITUAL GOALS
In the last three chapters we have journeyed some 15 billion years.
We have come from the Big Bang and the formation of the planets, to
the establishment of life and the birth of awareness. We are now at
a cross-roads where we need to redefine our sense of origin and our
sense of destiny. While humans owe their lives to evolution, this
factor alone can no longer be considered the sole cause of our existence.
Did our god make us, or did we invent a succession of philanthropic
deities to comfort us in our anxiety at finding ourselves alone in
Are we directed by divine decree, or by the chaos theory, one which
is consistently unquantifiable and observably unpredictable in its
disorder; a theory that is characterised by the observation that 'if
things weren't the way they were, we wouldn't be the way we are....''
Humans must live out their lives according to biological constraints
- those that fail, like the dinosaurs, will die. But biology falls
short of describing our nature, for out of our physical experience
of evolution has arisen a spiritual energy, a quality unbounded by
our biological origins.
Reflection, devotion, remorse... these stimuli serve no biological
function but are powerful experiences of the human condition. They
belong to the aspect we call 'spirit', and their nature spans both
life and time. The love of music, the power of art, the grief of bereavement,
all belong to an inner dimension peculiar to humans - that of emotion,
or more simply, feeling.
This dichotomy creates tension in our lives, and I see our generation
now poised between the instinctual needs of our animal heritage and
the intellectual needs of our spiritual calling. We court an exciting,
demanding and ultimately rewarding destiny. Embodied, our mind is
shackled - discarnate, our mind is free. Our task here is to learn
to unite with that freedom and to accept responsibility for it....
This is called the expansion of conscious awareness.
Proving the existence of 'spirit' to a non believer can be difficult,
in that it challenges established scientific reasoning. We don't like
to accept things we can't prove. As an example, many scientists and
doctors are quick to discredit children's extraordinary and often
well documented claims to have witnessed their own conception, gestation
or the powerful experience of their birth - on the grounds that the
baby's brain is insufficiently formed to record, store and retrieve
such memory6. I have no argument with this biological observation
but I believe it is an over simplified perspective driven only by
our love of logic.
6 Stanislas Grof's well documented accounts of pre-natal awarenessare are recorded in his book 'The Holotropic Mind'; see bibliography.
The baby has a spiritual inheritance, derived from generation after
generation of evolutionary development - and it is this indefinable
quality that breathes life into the human foetus. A baby's perception
may be limited by its ability to express it, but to drive a wedge
between humanity and the spiritual energies that distinguish it is
a flawed basis for evaluation. In short, what we do not understand,
I suggest we should accept as a possibility, unconstrained by logic,
science or rationale. 'Reason' is not the language of the spirit.
We strive to find a purpose in life, a vocation, a calling. What are
we here for, where are we heading and what, in the final analysis,
was the point of it all? How do we comprehend our unprecedented heritage
where evolution has encountered no boundaries, and the vigour of change
has run its unstoppable course. What of the past, driven as it was
by the unbridled whim of natural selection? Was it Chance or was it
Creation? What of the present, and our curious psycho-social dilemma,
free in spirit and yet captive in body? And what of the future?
The hum of mankind's spiritual awareness has broken the silence of
4 billion years, and won't now be stopped by apathy or denial. Are
we ready for new beginnings, or do we steer our experience of life
solely to requite our earthly needs? Do we migrate to a rarefied spiritual
realm, untethered by our animal origins, or do we dwell in unquestioning
obedience to our manmade religions and traditions? Does life demand
some personal input and if so, how, what and where? We have achieved
much in the physical realm, generally at the expense of our social
and spiritual health.
The disparities of our collective ambitions reveal our potential
for destruction; destruction in our relationships, where insecurity
engenders enmity and hate, and litigation dwells where once there
was love; destruction in our social orders, and our racial, cultural
and religious intolerance. We neglect family values, social respect
and mutual harmony and all the tribal attributes that brought us through
history to this epoch of personal choice. These changes are all aspects
of our evolving world and of our ill-cherished relationships to each
But our long, unfathomable journey through time has also brought
us a profound intellectual gift - a capacity for spiritual awareness
and a true interface with the Divine. We can nurture our gift, or
we can neglect it. But our changing experience of Life and the collective
energy of evolution won't let us ignore it. While we inherit our body
without question or option, our spirit remains dormant until stimulated.
The destiny of mankind's continued evolution lies not in the meaningless
drift of a wandering soul but in our active search for spiritual awareness
and the cultivation of higher human values.
Spiritual growth then is the intangible prize of life, and the one
goal and purpose of our existence. Our Planet Earth is the forum for
this spiritual honing, and crisis, pain and sometimes joy are among
the many triggers of feeling that we will experience in the cause
of spiritual growth.
Our quest for meaning - a family affair
QUEST FOR MEANING
Behind the sometimes obscure message of the world's religions, behind
the social and moral dictates of history, there dwells one ever present
quest, mankind's search for spiritual enlightenment. The rhythm of
our spiritual evolution is here to stay; the primitive and faltering
steps of our biological evolution have suddenly exploded into a complex
and unpredictable experience of indefinable power and immeasurable
consequences. For all those aeons of time since life first developed
on this planet, we were unable and unready to comprehend these invisible
inner stimuli. This has now changed; our potential for awareness doesn't
just start when we're born, and it doesn't stop when we die. The greater
our experience of collective awareness in this life, the greater will
be our experience of it in the afterlife.
GROWTH OUT OF GRIEF
We are steered by energies we don't understand, driven by sentiments
we can't control. As teenagers we expect life to deliver according
to our expectations. We demand much of our parents, as they did of
theirs. In our twenties we search for love and success, but we find
disappointment. Our youthful ambitions tarnish with age and tough
realities emerge to guide our earthly life. Perhaps, in our thirties,
our trust is betrayed; we blame others for our disappointments, like
our boss, our partner, or fate; we may take refuge in our work, or
in some social, political or religious cause; we become disillusioned,
distracted, depressed. By forty we are facing, maybe, a crisis of
identity, or a crisis of destiny, or crises of vocation and value
and need. Our life slowly stalls and we find ourselves spiralling
into a spiritual limbo.
We emerge from each stage wounded and cynical, but unwittingly and
sometimes unwillingly wiser. We come to review our expectations of
life, and begin to feel what we think. This is the beginning of our
journey in time, the awakening of our emotional depths. This is where
we find ourselves compelled to look for some answers to the mysteries
of life and the mysteries of our feelings, with a sense of longing
for that lost quality of joy and vocation we once thought was ours.
We seek a oneness with fate but don't know where to find it.
Many return to their ancestral religions as born again zealots,
not so much through an act of faith as through an act of desperation.
We experience a spiritual vacuum and take sometimes desperate measures
to fill it.
Our humanity comprises Body, Mind and Spirit. The Body, evolved
out of aeons of biological change, is our anchor in this physical
world and the vehicle of expression for our questing Mind. Our Mind
is the window on our inner self and the messenger for our restless
spirit; and the Spirit is our bridge to the non corporeal realm of
inner enlightenment, our link with infinity and our guide to divinity.
The Spirit is our higher self, the 'god within', the manifestation
of truth and love, our Soul. .
Our Soul is our undiscovered glory; it is a brimming cup of the ocean
we call God - both individually and uniquely us, and at the same time,
God. We don't journey to God; our god is already here. 'God' is an
energy, not an entity; we try to make him into a 'father' so we can
understand him from our literal human perspective; but he is neither
father nor mother, white nor black, and for as long as we try to picture
him in this way we miss the point of our own godly potential; development
of the spirit is the product of our conscious input and spiritual
progression is our sole responsibility.
In the past 30,000 years there have arisen a plethora of diverse
religions, all designed to serve the needs of the day. As our intellectual
perspectives change, so do our religions. Spiritual needs cry louder
than cultural ones, and fashionable new whims regularly ruffle our
religious traditions. To encounter spiritual energy is our calling,
and spiritual growth is our destiny. So how do we ensnare this transient
The Universe is composed of balanced energies, and Karma is the great
law of universal balance that guides, teaches and generates spiritual
awareness throughout our evolving history. Thoughts, too, are universal
energies; thoughts of love belong to the soul and attract like energies.
Thoughts of anger, fear and intolerance belong to the ego and attract
negativity, mistrust and, on a collective scale, wars. Karma is the
energy that restores balance to these opposing forces.
The West has traditionally mistrusted that which the East has taken
for granted - the phenomenon of reincarnation. Despite Christ's assurance
that he and his followers would 'rise from the dead', Christians have
never taken this to mean reincarnation - at least not on this planet....
The difficulty with reincarnation is that it puts our sciences on
a spot by demanding a temporal answer to a spiritual question. We
find it easier to avoid questions like these, and hope the problem
will just go away.....
Many leading fathers of the Christian faith, notably Origen (250
AD), have interpreted the Bible's positive teaching on reincarnation.
Origen was the first reliable chronicler of the developing Christian
church, which had sprung from a diverse collection of self powered
social groups from around 75 AD onwards, each claiming adherence to
the true teachings of their long dead messiah. It was Origen's misfortune
to become caught up in political jostling between Constantinople and
Rome. After two successive Popes had been murdered, apparently by
Theodora, Constantinople's tyrannical first lady, the third, her chosen
successor, agreed to brand Origen a heretic, thus robbing Christianity
of one of the key professors of its true and original teaching. Theodora
ordered all his books to be tracked down and burnt in what became
an unparalleled act of literary vandalism7. The influential Gnostic
gospels which stemmed from the same period acknowledged reincarnation
as a fact of spiritual life.
7 Source 'Edgar Case on Reincarnation' , see bibliography
Our left-brain (logic) is threatened by things it can't understand,
can't control and can't rationalise; it craves the discipline and
ritual which define the Western religions of Christianity and Judaism.
These two religions, and their many variants, are vociferously orientated
towards the external goal of "salvation". Conversely, right-brain
(intuition) is more readily able to accept myth and legend as the
motivating elements that power Eastern religions like Buddhism and
Hinduism. These are typically oriented towards the inner values of
"enlightenment". Gnosticism meanwhile embraced both these cultural
perspectives by combining, rather laboriously, the component elements
of Greek philosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity8.
8 The medieval Franch Cathars were descended from the Gnostics
The ancient Egyptians believed in reincarnation and took great trouble
to provide for the deceased's spiritual journey. The Greeks (under
Plato's teaching), and the Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs all subscribe
in one way or another to the cult of reincarnation. The case for reincarnation
is well documented today by the contemporary writings of many discarnate
guides and their incarnate channels. Superstitious associations with
spiritualism, ghosts and 'the dead' have long given way in the face
of such consistent and authoritative words from mediums, sensitives
and spirit communicators telling us of love, joy and compassion and
the nature of our spiritual pathway through time.
Most of us can accept that our spirituality is a perpetual dynamic
while our incarnation is but a fleeting experience. We dwell in spirit
and spiritual considerations steer our karmic development.
To this one end, modern thinking holds, our soul chooses its own
incarnation. This radical perspective is fundamental to an understanding
of the purpose of life. We view this world from a discarnate perspective,
and with the help of our soul guides, we choose an incarnation that
will provide us the opportunity to balance our learning, a karmic
blueprint. Spirit-guides including Gildas, Jane Robert's Seth, Meredith
Young's Mentor, the Rosamund Lehman messages, the renowned seer Edgar
Cayce and more recently Dr Karl Nowotny, (see bibliography) all describe
in beautiful detail this discarnate perspective shunned by successive
This unique and individual choice accounts for some of the apparent
inequalities of life, for we all choose to incarnate at different
levels to meet differing needs. From the lonely and the sick to the
fulfilled and the empowered, all must be respected for their brave
and individual choice. Our choices reflect the needs of family karma,
national karma and racial karma in addition to our own individual
needs; there is much interlinking of spiritual energies and much collective
joy in the maturing of an enlightened soul.
Our soul chooses emotional, physical or material privations, that
we might grow through self realisation. As humans we experience psychological
wounds, unconscious emotions and unexpressed grief. This we may counter
with a grin-and-bear it attitude where fear and anger are thinly veiled
behind a sharp tongue, wanton criticism and a wilful wit. These, and
more, are the hallmarks of a searching and loveless incarnate - one
that has yet to find its own true, redemptive path.
The physical experiences of malfunction, degeneration, and deprivation
all speak of pre-carnate choice, and can be a hateful experience of
negativity and pain or, with trust and learning, a balancing experience
of redemptive karma, accompanied by the growing development of spiritual
fortitude. All suffering motivates spiritual change, though not always
for the observably better, and will be a self-chosen path to our growing
enlightenment. Our response is a matter of attitude; and attitude
is the tough choice of Free Will....
A mother gives the last of her energy to a dying
Very often these karmic choices are symbiotic. Matrimonial strife
is a two sided experience - so is the experience of a mental or physical
affliction for both parent and child. In the same way I consider the
distressing experiences of social wrong doings may be powered by a
symbiotic energy linking two or more souls together. In typically
karmic style, the subjects may then experience the challenging events
of life from the twin perspectives of winner and loser. We have to
acknowledge our self-chosen fate, and navigate the path of our own
destiny. We must work with fate and not against it. While fate guides
our experience of life, our destiny results from the choices we make
of our own free will. And the more knowledge we acquire, the more
free will we have.
QUEST FOR TRUTH
There are no depths of depravity to which mankind will not sink;
Christian persecutions in the amphitheatres of ancient Rome, Jewish
death camps, ethnic cleansing, drug addiction, infanticide, cruelty
and humiliation of every description by mankind against his fellow
beings. So too there is no end to the soul's quest for truth, the
truth of spiritual reality and maturity that is the mother of love.
We cannot know freedom until we know bondage; we cannot savour good
until we've encountered the dry taste of hate and despair; we cannot
know love without the soul-less experiences of hell we call evil.
Our experiences educate us, and we cannot pretend to know what we
haven't yet learned. The spirit is raw; wounds are not hidden with
sweet talk and self delusion, but transformed with gut-level sentiments
of strength, humility and love. This is spiritual evolution at work,
repairing the damage of imbalance and igniting our dormant spiritual
We have many aspects of spiritual awareness, and many aspects of
learning, more than can be fitted into one lifetime; so souls incarnate
at different times, in part or in entirety, to meet different needs
and to share different experiences of awakening. We are not alone;
we are helped and supported by kindred souls, souls on other wavelengths
and in other experiences of reality. Our supporters include twin souls,
soul-mates and soul-guides. The great teachers, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed,
the Virgin Mary, the gurus, saints and visionaries are all a part
of our collective piritual identity. We are all treading a well worn
path to spiritual enlightenment.
We are taught in the language and images that are appropriate to
our diverse and ever changing culture, sometimes to the confusion
of those differing cultures that assemble together at places of worship
and pilgrimage. We perceive the widely differing styles of teachers
like Mary of Fatima, Lourdes and Medjugorie, and that of Vassula,
the Swiss based seer, or Mother Meera, the divinely incarnated avatar
now teaching in Germany. Or even Sai Baba, the renowned miracle worker
from Southern India. We use imagery to develop our primal beliefs,
we and the societies that we dwell in. The soft, loving words of Mother
Meera, encouraging, welcoming, forgiving, contrast sharply with the
Lutheran style of Vassula.
Vassula is one of many whose followers have run into a wall of hierarchical
hindrance. Vassula is the name of one Mrs Ryden, the Greek Orthodox
wife of a Swiss Lutheran; she makes amazing claims of regular interviews
with Christ and God and preaches dire, apocalyptic warnings. In November
1995 the Vatican banned her teaching, branding it theologically unsound.
Some may welcome bold exhortations to get their spirit moving;
but we must take care to ensure that the decision is ours and not
one implanted through the indomitable personalities of self powered
reformers like Savonarola, (d. 1498), Luther, (d. 1546) and all the
religious fundamentalists, Puritans and nonconformists who have accompanied
us through history. To accept dire words of disempowerment from others
is to insult our spirituality and the god-force that generated it.
The sackcloth-and-ashes fetish so loved by Christians does not serve
the needs of the spirit. Devils, hell and a whole litany of ungodly
grief awaits the superstitious and unquestioning herd of mankind who
are shepherded through their teachers' religious passions with scant
regard for fact, let alone love or compassion.
In Bardo of Karmic Illusions (The Tibetan Book of The Dead) we are
warned: "Oh nobly born, whatever fearful visions thou mayst see, recognise
them to be thine own thought forms...." We have a way of seeing only
what we want to see and of believing it to be true. We have a total
responsibility to ourselves for our own development - only we can
unlock the god within, and only we can judge the quality of our input
for spiritual growth. To question the cult of Satan and the power
of evil challenges the authority of our religious leaders, who have
long used the medium of fear and superstition to hold human souls
in the path of their chosen persuasion.
There is only one spiritual Truth, the universal truth of light and
love. And there is only one route to this truth, the inner road of
self discovery. And there is no devil, just a fearsome manifestation
of unlimited negativity we call evil.
'Evil' is a powerful tool in the affairs of mankind. It is essentially
a sin against the societies and religions that spawned it. Primitive
tribes of today have no concept of evil, and no word for it. We behold
evil to be a sin against another, a wrong which challenges our social
order, our moral stance, and we call in our religions to add a bit
of godly authority to our condemnation.
Inevitably societies and religions invented the 'DEVIL' to reinforce
their worthy desire for social harmony, albeit one held together by
the tyranny of fear. Churches have long thrived under that subtle
thumbscrew of forced loyalty. I believe the 'DEVIL' serves the needs
of the society, not the needs of the soul....
A traditional Christian image of St Michael and the Devil
JUDGE THE SIN...
We should seek to embrace the company of those who reflect our moral,
social and spiritual values, while acknowledging the right of all
to live out their self-chosen life to its full if unhappy conclusion.
We must judge the sin, if there is one, not the sinner whose soul
has chosen this path. We must cherish positivity and tolerate the
negativity in which lie the seeds of mankind's search for meaning.
In Christian terms we must 'turn the other cheek', but turn it with
tolerance, not indifference.