human being, Uncategorized

WHAT IS A HUMAN BEING?

My colleague Keith and I have had conversations about the meaning of the term “human being”. If I understand Keith correctly, he means the people who inhabit this particular planet, and possibly only this planet. Although Keith has conventional wisdom, and science, on his side, I take a different view. My view reflects Wordsworth in his well-known poem:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds glory do we come

From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Expressing these lines more prosaically, I believe that we human beings are spiritual beings who, from time to time, incorporate in physical form. When we do, we take forms that reflect local conditions. Our physical bodies here on this planet are, very evidently, a product of this planet. They reflect exactly planet Earth’s unique combination of gravitational strength, atmosphere, levels of radiation, availability of chemicals, and so on. When we incarnate on other places, our physical forms reflect the unique conditions of those places. Thus, we look very different (so different that we would say “alien”!), but we are still human beings, because at the spiritual level, we are the same, regardless of our physical forms.

I fully accept that this is not the “science story”. But I do believe that it is an important part of the human story. We human beings who happen to be here at this particular time on this planet live in very materialistic times, with very materialistic beliefs, values and behaviours. This is why we know little, if anything, about the fuller human story. That fuller story is to be found not in science, but in “esoteric knowledge”. As the term suggests, this is “knowledge for the few.” Not many people know of its existence, and even fewer know what it means. There are some good reasons for this.

Primarily, and unlike science, there is no fully comprehensive, widely agreed, accessible body of esoteric knowledge (I really wish there were). It exists in many fragments, in many languages, and many of these are contradictory. As if this were not enough, many of these fragments are intellectually inaccessible. Even when esoteric knowledge is expressed in the modern idiom (e.g. Steiner’s Occult Science; Bailey’s Treatise on Cosmic Fire; Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled), this too can be a difficult read. Arguably, the most accessible for the modern mind is The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, but even this can be heavy going. It is hardly surprising that, given there are so many alien ideas and concepts, much esoteric knowledge is expressed in metaphor and symbolism. Two good examples of this are the Rg Veda and the Book of Revelation. Both are packed with information about the spiritual nature and history of the human being and the Cosmos, yet very few people are able to access this information from these works. It is a riddle, but you can only access sources of esoteric knowledge if you already know more or less what it is! That said, it clearly does not help to keep saying that esoteric knowledge is in fragments, often contradictory and mainly inaccessible. What does help, I think, is to have a very concise over view of the fuller human story, and thus a fuller understanding of what a “human being” is.

As I said, we are primarily spiritual beings who “touch down” from time to time on the physical plane. We do this for a number or reasons, but mainly to experience differently. It is as if we are sense organs of the Cosmos! And the Cosmos seems to want to know and experience in as much variety and detail as possible. In this way, it gets to know itself! It should be obvious, but perhaps it needs to be stated that the physical experience is very different from the non-physical experience. One big difference is that physical experience is more varied, and more detailed. Experiencing a sunset or the dawn chorus are good examples of this. Another difference is that on the physical plane, time and space have boundaries. This is strongly reflected in our lives and in the fact that our physical incarnations inevitably have endings. In contrast, non-physical (“spiritual”) experience knows no limits.

I could go on at length, but I simply want to point out that, although our physical manifestation and experiences are clearly an important part of the human story, they are by no means the only part.

 

being natural, consciousness, inner cosmos, natural, Uncategorized

WE ARE MICROCOSMS

It has been over three months since I last wrote about the “inner cosmos”, and over a month since I last wrote about anything! Put it down to two broken legs. Mine came first, when skiing in March. And then Ana broke hers climbing some big rocks in the garden. There is nothing like a broken leg to play havoc with one’s routine. Two broken legs is havoc squared!

While recovering, I have been giving a lot of thought to the inner cosmos. If I had to define it, I would say that it is the reflection of the Cosmos within us. We are similar to the Cosmos in more ways than you might imagine. I believe that this is very significant.

First, it is a new way of saying that “God is within us”, meaning that we somehow contain the Universe inside us. This in turn gives us a fresh perspective on religion and spirituality.

Second, it helps to explain why we just know things about the Cosmos and about its various “levels” (planets, stars, etc.), without any apparent reason for knowing. We know because we resonate  with the Cosmos and with its levels, and we resonate because we are like them! We are on the same wavelength, if you like.

Third, as I will show in future blogs, it provides a very effective basis for developing our consciousness. In essence, this involves “unpeeling” successively deeper layers of our inner cosmos. Once they are revealed, they can resonate with their external counterparts, and we experience this resonance as consciousness and knowing.

Fourth, it gives us a new way of understanding what it means to be human, to be natural, to be earthly (i.e. of this planet), and to be Cosmic. I will say much more about this later.

Fifth, perhaps most controversially, the fact of our inner cosmos strongly suggests that we are not alone. It is conventional wisdom to believe that life happened here by chance, and that we human beings evolved out of that chance happening, and only on this one planet. I believe differently. I believe that the existence of our inner cosmos, and the immense holarchy that it reflects, suggest that we human beings are integral parts of the universe and that, as such, we are to be found all over it. That said, our appearance will vary widely, according to local conditions.

Although I could list many more far-reaching implications of our inner cosmos, I will just mention one more today. Since we are microcosms of the Cosmos, it flows that it is a macrocosm of us! This surely means, does it not, that if we want to understand the Universe, we should first understand ourselves. And that if we want to understand ourselves more fully and more deeply, we should study the Universe more fully and more deeply.

In my next blog, I will outline what our inner cosmos looks like, and how it functions.

 

 

being natural, Intelligence, natural, simplicity, Taoist, Uncategorized

FULL OF AWE

I spent my honeymoon in 1970 on the banks of Loch Awe in Scotland. At the time I wondered whether its name had any relationship to “awe”, meaning “wonder, marvel”. It was only recently, when the word “awesome” became ubiquitous, that my mind went back to original meaning of this word.

As you may know, “awesome” is now used in virtually any situation to mean “the best, the greatest”, often when the thing being described is far from the greatest, far from the best. Whereas in Scotland, we might say “that’s not bad”, Americans (and many others) would say “awesome!!!”

Indeed, “awesome” seems to the word of choice in a world of permanent hyperbole. Nothing is ordinary any more!

It may interest you to know that “awesome” and awful” used to mean the opposite of what they mean today. Awful meant “full of awe” – therefore, wonderful, marvellous. Awesome, as the word suggests, meant “some awe” – therefore, not quite so wonderful.

I have no idea when the change occurred, but I can speculate why. I believe it is mainly because we live in a world of topsy-turvy values…where footballers get paid much more than nurses, and where people become overnight celebrities because they say something rude or stupid on Twitter or YouTube.

I had this cultural decline in mind when I organised and chaired a conference in Scotland in 2000 – entitled “Thinking Allowed”. The strapline was “Bring Back Thinking – All is Forgiven”. Of course, this was partly tongue in cheek, but the serious intent was to demonstrate that the quality and range of thinking has deteriorated markedly these last few decades.

A few years later, when I was living in New Mexico, I used to watch a programme called “Thinking Allowed” on Sunday mornings. As its host, Jeffrey Mishlove, pointed out, this was a play on words. He also pointed out that it was difficult to find people who could really think, and whose language reflected this. The fact that he was able to find a few was, of course, awesome!

global change, Intelligence, natural, simplicity

ARE WE HERE BY CHANCE

Today I will apply intelligent simplicity to an important question: are we here by chance? Do we human beings just happen to be here, for no reason, on this particular planet, and nowhere else? In any event, what do we mean by “chance”? When we say that the toss of a coin or the throw of the dice is a matter of chance, what do we really mean?

What we really mean is that we cannot predict the outcome. This is not because the outcome is theoretically unpredictable. It is because we cannot do it in practice, because we do not know all the variables. There are two many of them, and the effect of some of them (for example, the exact force exerted by our thumb, or the influence of the air temperature) are too difficult to know.

This is important because it suggests that there might be no such thing as inherent chance – meaning no reason at all for something to happen. What we have instead is apparent chance – meaning our inability to know exactly why something happens. There is a world of difference between inherent incomprehensibility, on the one hand, and our current inability to understand or explain. The first would be a quality of the universe. The second simply reflects our state of knowledge and consciousness. The problem is that we tend to confuse the two.

Having said this, I believe that nothing happens by chance. We may not be able to explain why it happens, but this is no reason for consigning it to “chance”.

Significantly, if we are not here by chance, but for very good reasons, it is clearly important that we discover what these good reasons are. To express another way, if there are good reasons for our being here, this suggests that there is a purpose – a meaning – for our being here. We have a role to play in the grand scheme of things! How would we go about finding out what our role, our purpose is? For the moment, I think this question is best left hanging in the air!