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Editor, John Evans

Easter Mysticism: The evolution of consciousness

Library Angel It’s Eastertide, so let’s see if there’s anything new to be found in religion — which can be a touch boring at times.

The old platitudes of Christianity fail to impress the majority of people for most of the time. The same goes for most other “faiths”.

Is there a different way of looking at them?

Biology understands evolution as a random physical system which eventually created the human body — almost by chance. It scarcely pays attention to the evolution of consciousness, except as a by-product of physicality. An afterthought, if you like.

The world is a very different organism than that. Time is continuously created as a field in which the evolution of consciousness can take place. Indeed, that seems to be the sole reason for time to exist at all.

Speculating further, our human role is to function as the eyes and ears of the originating mind so that it can become conscious of itself.

In Meister Eckhart’s resonant phrase, “The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me” — a sentence as profound as anything ever uttered or written.

The physical world we know is part of a continuum of existence based on consciousness, or spirit, if you’d prefer. Once we accept that mind precedes and therefore creates matter, all then is mind.

At that point, mind can be experienced as matter, and we can begin to imagine realms of being other than our own. The phrase “infinite possibilities” rises unbidden.

We all exist in time, even if we don’t know exactly what time is. We can only describe time using mechanical comparisons — a clock, for example. But that doesn’t touch the essence of it.

Time is indistinguishable from consciousness in the sense that the passing of time is the product of consciousness.

In the end, everything manifests as consciousness, which is the heart and soul of existence. Without knowing that you exist, what else exists?

Ultimately, consciousness is what we call God, even if we don’t know it.

We should therefore respect and revere our own consciousness as part of, and indistinguishable from, God. Without, of course, imagining that we are God!

Life was never meant to be easy.

John Evans

… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

Coming soon: Practical Mysticism: A different way of looking at the world.

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Saturday Ramble: The Green Man

Green Man There’s nowt so bossy as a green activist, as Yorkshire folk might say.

In fact, today’s greens are not green at all by the standards of ancient folklore. Pseudo-science and portents of catastrophe have replaced the deep esoteric significance of the word “green” for our spiritual ancestors.

To catch a glimpse of this previous incarnation of the “man of the greenwood”, take a trip to your nearest Green Man pub — there are still plenty of them around, especially in East Anglia and country districts.

That face on the swinging inn sign tells a story which goes back to an earlier stage in our development: to the vegetable body.

The first stirrings of the Earth into life were purely mineral: rocks and stones of an igneous nature. They were unmoving objects content just to be. From them arose vegetation with its peculiar state of consciousness, deemed to be highly spiritual and with an acceptance of the world around it and beyond.

When this “vegetable body” developed a mobile, restless aspect, animals came into being. Later, humans brought a sense of discontent into the world and a zeal to change everything. That disquiet still has to be reconciled with the spirituality of the vegetable world, more so that the human animal is acutely aware it is only a work in progress and faces bodily obliteration at any time. Some genuine mystics believe we are on the cusp of a major leap in consciousness — but I suspect it was ever thus.

Just as a foetus goes through all the steps in evolution in the womb, from a fish up to a human, so humans retain vestiges of the three main bodies that make up our nature: animal, vegetable and mineral.

The animal body is situated in the head and is responsible for thought and the mind. It is strangely unstable and creates all the angst in the world.

The vegetable body is found in the belly and gives us our connection to the spiritual world through its realm of thought-free consciousness. It is not called the Solar Plexus for nothing.

The mineral body is made up of the calciferous bony bits which solidify the tripartite structure.

We need all three “bodies”. Life as we know it would be impossible without them. In modern times though, we have lost touch with our essential greenwood elements with all the benefits they can bring to our bleak thought-driven world-view.

In Japan, the belly is called the hara, seat of the true heart, or soul of a person. In Zen meditation, focus is moved from the head and its interminable flood of thoughts, down to the hara. Concentration is maintained by deep breathing into the hara and following its rise and fall during inhalation and exhalation. This is a very peaceful practice.

In all cultures, the hara, or vegetable body, is the gateway to the world of spirit. European cathedrals and churches are decorated with multiple variations on the green man theme despite the Church’s attempts to wipe out our esoteric inheritance. Gothic churches are woodlands carved in stone.

Some “modern” people effect to find JRR Tolkien’s epic book The Lord of the Rings quite absurd and childish. “Please, no more elves,” was the cry when the old boy entered an Oxford pub back in the 1950s.

Imagine, trees that talk to each other and watch humans as they pass through the dark wood. Worse, the trees can walk. Worse still, at one point they actually go to war, attacking a stronghold of the Orcs. Remember, Tolkein wrote the work in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

The Orcs represent Adolf Hitler’s legions of storm-troopers, while the dear old trees are the forces of good against manifest evil. Tolkien was referring back to very ancient lore describing the vegetable body. His trees are the kindly, spiritual side of mankind, while the Orcs embody the harsh, mind-maddened aspects of our nature.

The legend of Robin Hood is a good example of how the apparent history of a real man, Robin of Loxley — a Norman (or Saxon) earl in the time of bad Prince John — has been absorbed by old folk memories of the Green Man.

Living deep in Sherwood Forest, Robin wore clothes of Lincoln green. With his band of merry men he fought against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, bringing succour to the poor. He could almost have been one of Tolkien’s trees.

Have a re-read of Grimm and spot the vegetative references. There’s much more to folk traces than meets the modern eye. Think also of the Hebrew Garden of Eden with its vegetative themes, and also the mystical Tree of Knowledge in the Cabala.

In esoteric circles to this day, there are shadowy references to the “Green language”. Our modern Indo-European tongues are direct descendants of the original Green language, it seems. Where else would they come from?

I could go on … it’s a very large subject. Suffice it to say that modern-day “greens” live in their heads with all its limitations in describing the world at a deeper level. Their assertions are products of a panicky, runaway mind, latching on to any slight anomaly or statistical twitch to proclaim the end of the world. Barely a year goes by without someone announcing the “end times”.

Next year, 2012, gives us the Mayan Calendar mystery. Nobody ever explains just how a bloodthirsty Stone Age people, said to have sacrificed up to 80,000 people in one week, could possibly know precisely when the world would end. As it’s a calendar event, they would have been advised by their mathematicians and cosmologists — food for thought.

Climate change “greens” are the catastrophists of our time who would have us spend huge sums of money on rebuilding our countries as fortresses against the weather and the future. In other words, the very nature that sustains us. Why should we make an enemy of our best friend?

Instead, they should switch their attention occasionally from head to hara, whence we might see the back of them.

John Evans

John Evans is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

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Saturday Ramble Part 2: Easter Comment

Oxford

Belief seems to be essential to all peoples, even if it comes in the form of unbelief. Modern religions, like secularism and scientism, are belief-systems too because their supporters believe in their own views, contrary to other people’s experience.

The problem we have in our scientific age is that our brains have become so big we mistake them for our minds.

The brain is a fantastic tool, like a hammer, a wheel or a knife. Since the European Enlightenment, we’ve been taught to identify with it completely. The result is that most developed humans are trapped in their own heads. Their worldview is limited by what the brain can do and what it perceives.

Thus everything perceptible beyond the brainview is dismissed as “myth”, fantasy and primitive. Richard Dawkins, riding on a reluctant Darwin, is the high priest of this message.

The alternative biologist Rupert Sheldrake, writes about “extended mind”, showing us the obvious fact that our minds extend well beyond our heads. It doesn’t take much introspection to arrive at that result.

We call explorers of our extended mind “mystics” — folk with their heads in the clouds. It’s a term of abuse to scientists. Yet mystics are scientists too, working in areas designated untouchable by the materialists.

Religion is man’s response to the mystical message — that which lies beyond the cage of our brainview. Religion, like philosophy, has followed science slavishly down its tubular path. It has become an artificial construct, dependent on a narrow slice of experience and much wishful thinking. A dramatist’s creation, not a God’s.

The mystic knows “God” as the sea of awareness that lies at the heart of everybody’s consciousness. We all rise and fall within it, and share its characteristics — even its immortality.

We can be made to believe anything, but only through direct experience can we “know” the truth.

Organized religions have caused more violence than almost any other aspect of human life. They are the economic and political exploitation of who we really are.

True mystics are always peaceable, because they “know”, not just “believe”.

Easter symbolizes the rebirth of life in the northern hemisphere. It’s not a subject to squabble over, but to “know”.

John Evans

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
Albert Einstein

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A Happy Easter

Syntagma wishes our regulars and all who chance by here, a very happy Easter break.

We’re off for a few days now for a little rest and recuperation before picking up the baton again on Tuesday.

See you then.

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