Saturday, 17 September 2016

Creative Friendship

Creative Friendship

from The Great Gift (1977) by William Arkle

We observe that we exist as independent individuals, and that our independence and individuality become an intrinsic part of our understanding of living values. We come to recognise clearly that we would have virtually no value for one another if we resembled each other completely. In fact we find we have more value for ourselves and others the more our individuality grows and develops. But growth produces a series of changes in our understanding in such a way that our idea of valuable individuality becomes naturally governed by parameters which are initially not apparent to us. For growth produces an ability in us to become aware of, and to use, our creative imagination. This means that we are able to choose how we behave and do not have this behaviour dictated to us by the conditioning effects of the environment or the conditioning effects of the lesser, undeveloped nature that our growth commenced from. If we achieve the ability to observe clearly from the ground where this imagination is free and relatively unconditioned we can begin to ask ourselves the question, "What is the greatest and most valuable gift I would like to be given?" We should take a long time to delve into our whole private universe to come up with the best possible answer. I think that the answer we would find we arrived at would be that the greatest and most valuable thing we could ever wish for is 'Ourself'.

We would find, I believe, that, when we had become satiated with all the immediately beautiful and delightful things that our imagination first of all thinks it would like, such as 'the heavenly life' with all the attributes of peace, beauty, serenity, love and bliss, then, and only then, might we begin to realise that there was something we might learn to value even more. This deeper value, I feel, would be based on our realisation that we were not able to use and develop our independent creative and responsible faculties in such a heaven. Now these independent creative responsibilities require all our integrity and effort to function properly because, if we look at them, we will discover that there is only one thing which they want to be engaged in, and that is the discovery and expression of 'the impossibly beautiful and valuable thing'. Our real independent spirit is not truly interested in doing the possible beautiful things, although it does them as a proper part of its natural and responsible behaviour. This spirit is more truthfully always preparing to take a deep breath and try to do some wonderful thing that it can only aspire to and cannot already achieve. This is a fact which stems from the truth of our Being which reflects the nature and attitude of the Creator.

I shall now turn the tables and say that, if we next use our independent imagination and put ourselves in the place of the Creator, there is nothing we will be able to come up with as a more worthwhile thing to create than a means of bringing into existence some other real independent beings with whom we could enter into creative living as friends and sharers of one another’s experience.

And then we can look at what we consider the nature of friendship to be, and find out why it becomes such an important part of our experience. We have a deep desire to share our independent imaginative and creative living with other independent beings. To bring an impossibly beautiful thing within the scope of our expression is a very desirable achievement, but to be able to share the values of the achievement with other independent sources of appreciation and valuation, such as another person who is your friend, is even more desirable. We feel that to get the greatest benefit from our creative endeavours we must share the fruits of the endeavour with others. Another cannot be another unless he or she is truly independent too, and they cannot be valuable 'other people' unless they have achieved a degree of growth in their own private universe which is able to give attention to and appreciation for the qualities which you yourself have valued so much. They do not have to agree about the value of what you have found, but they must have reached a level of understanding from which their reasons for not agreeing with you are as valuable as the treasure you are showing to them. This begins to enable us to understand the astringent and virile side to the creative aspect of true friendship, and it also points out for us the difference between true friendship and artificial friendship.

Artificial friendship is the activity of the preliminary self, the selfish self, which bases friendship on the use people have for its relatively small and self-centred desires and needs. It is a perfect parody of the higher true friendship, but its order of behaviour is not based on the free independence of the spirit but on the fear and anxiety surrounding the selfish nature of a personality divorced from its true spiritual identity. The artificial friendships of the selfish self are based on the ability of its so-called 'friends' to boost and support its artificial and substitute existence. Its 'reality' is a substitute for its spiritual reality, and its 'values' are a substitute for its spiritual values. In every way it parodies the proper activity of its spiritual counterpart. It also parodies the sense of purpose and achievement, and this ultimately leads to its downfall, for the individual eventually becomes sickened by the lack of real satisfaction its artificial substitute behaviour brings to it. It then begins to look about for an alternative life which does not consist of a sense of futility and emptiness. After many mistakes the perception of the spiritual self and the artificial self begin to overlap and integrate, but only if the pain of vanity continues. If it is successful, the individual person is able to begin to value and express the qualities of the spiritual understanding and live them out through its physical personality. It can also begin to understand the nature of true friendship which can only belong to the higher spiritual nature and cannot properly exist at the lower level of the selfish personality self. Only the true Self, which carries with it the attitude of the Creator, can enter into the feeling and nature of true friendship. This true friendship has an attitude which we can call that of 'gladness' towards its friends. Now this use of the term gladness is trying to draw attention to a forward-going, non-clinging, non-dependent attitude. This gladness contains what we understand of the word love and affection, but it also carries a zest of joy and livingness which results in a paradox which can only be expressed by a phrase like 'careless caring' or 'unconcerned concern'. I do not wish to suggest that there is any hardness or lack of sympathetic support in this friendship, but there is a wisdom in it which knows that we destroy one another with too much comfort and support and sympathy.

This friendship also recognises that the creative impossibly beautiful aspiration can only be enjoyed and worked on between two independent friends who are able to stand firmly apart in order to become two polarities which are different from one another, and yet whose concern is unselfishly for the greater fulfilment of the other. In such a friendship a creative vortex can arise between them, from the play of forces between them, from which can come the impossibly beautiful thing. In this way the higher spiritual friendship assists each friend in their ongoing, never ending livingness. The true spirit of man does not want to arrive at an omega point that is an ultimate point. Any omega point is only considered to be a point of new departure for a greater endeavour. There is of course an omega point in the growth of man’s spirit, from which he takes his first steps into his true life, and that is the point at which he consciously and deliberately enters into the Divine spiritual family of friends. This is also the proper species to which he must belong if he is to enter into eternal life and within which his individuality will be developed to its limits.

What is it that friends of this sort have to offer one another in friendships? It is the depth and quality of their unique characteristics combined with their species characteristics. So a measure of the regard you have for your friends and for yourself, and for your species, is the amount of effort you have put into building experience and character into your own universe, into your unique individuality. The more living of a productive sort that you have done, the more real substance you will carry round with you and be able to offer in creative friendship to all your friends. This is all that we ever possess for ourselves, or for our loved ones: our characteristics. We cannot have a deep and productive friendship with an individual who has only a thinness of character in him; we can only have a deep relationship with an individual who has a great depth of character in him. Such ultimately real belongings cannot be gained easily; our instinct tells us so. Such depth of character is only hard won on the battlefields of the hardest forms of living experience. These hardest forms of living experience can never be in a heavenly environment, as we understand the term, in an existence of spiritual ease and bliss. It must be axiomatic that these characteristics can only be won by an individual effort to live the highest quality of being in the most resistant environment. Such an environment is exactly that of earth, which is not too far removed from heaven, but far enough from the heavenly environment to be called unheaven. It is here in unheaven that we can work on the possibilities of our nature in a suitably resistive situation, which can call out of us the very utmost of our integrity and endeavour as well as our understanding of peace, beauty, serenity and bliss.

It is here on earth that man can become familiar with the great gift that is being offered to him, which is his own Self. There is no other gift we really desire, and this is a way of arriving at an understanding of the great and wise giver of this gift, our Creator. Our God thus turns out to be our great friend, and turns out to want from us nothing other than our great friendship. He does not want us to continue in childish dependence on him or in servile or childish obedience to him; he wants to give us the whole gift of our independent reality. This requires us to untie the Gordian knot which causes us to remain in an obedient or childish condition, and, when we have untied it, and made a lot of mistakes in consequence, then, and only then, are we in a position to be able to make a real deliberate friendship with him, and this is his great reward. If we achieve enough independence and growth to become his friends, we will be able to participate with our God-friend in creative, responsible, aspiring endeavour. We will also be God-friends to one another and we will taste the life which is never ending and never accomplished, which is always virile, creative and new. And therefore, when we look around the world and see the state it is in, and throw up our hands in horror, we should take thought for a little while. We can now face the proposal that there is no gift we would rather have than the one we are being given. There is no other way that the gift could be given to us than in an environment such as earth. Rather than disbelieving in a God who is trying to give us to ourselves, we should notice that this God is doing exactly what a god must do in order to give us what we want more than anything else. He is offering us from a distance the great gift of our own unique individual divine reality, but this is such a subtle and great gift that we must enter into the process by which we receive the gift. Our own initiative, and only that, can enable us to develop unique characteristics.

There are three aspects to the great gift: the separate life given to us out of the Creator’s own life; then intelligent understanding of the significance of the qualities inherent in that life, and lastly the strength and integrity to carry and sustain it. The more these facts are considered and realised, the more we come to realise the value of our earthly life, and the Creator’s thoughtfulness in not being present in a dominant personal form which would have prevented us knowing about and developing individual independent characteristics and identity. How could we have gathered such an important part of the gift if the strong and dominant person of the Creator had been at our side in a form which we could have recognised? We would have been merged into duplicates of his own nature if our God had done that, and then what value could we have for him as friends? What value would we have had in creative friendship for one another either? But if we are being given such a great and real gift then there must also be a risk that we will not enter into the spirit of the gift sufficiently to take it. There must be a possibility that we will wilt and fade in our spirit. If we can have real success we must also be able to have real failure, and I think this is why we sense that there is a beautiful heroic yet tragic element in life. We must become aware of its failure as well as its success. Only our Creator can know what is real failure, but we can share the grief which he must feel for his children that he nearly wins, but who then slip away from life and from his love.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The deep nature of morality

In terms of the absolute it is ethically more valuable to be honestly bad than dishonestly good.

It would seem that behaviour easily degenerates to the level where it is glad to achieve a good front to its activities. People do not realise it is their own Self they are cheating. They think it is others they are scoring off and also that any God who lets them get away with it, as he does, deserves to be cheated.

This is because it does not occur to them that God and the natural background are in the process of giving them absolute values. They judge the situation in a small-minded way and consider that the ‘pay-off’ is coming and that they had better enjoying some short term fruits before it comes and statues of way that treasure. It does not occur to them that the ‘pay’-off never comes, but exists continually in the attitude they have towards their own Self.

Without knowing it, we are largely our own judge, court of appeal, sentencer and execution. We are also our own valuer and God-maker. No one can realise our own Divinity for us and similarly no one can take it away from us.

We cannot be truly moral unless we act with the knowledge, attitudes, and conviction of our own true Self. This is the Self which is all the while Divine but does not realise this fact. Morality which does not stem from the natural response of this Self is not worthy of the name and is nothing more than convention. It may be a good convention, but its goodness is as nothing to its honesty.

It seems one should aim at honest living if one wishes to achieve the sort of goodness which religious feelings require, otherwise it is like putting the cart before the horse and letting goodness get in the way of ‘livingness’. This is sin, that narrowing down and inhibition of the full encounter.

Full encounter is not achieved by living the free and easy bohemian life, but is achieved by that free and natural release of the innermost spirit together with the quality and attitude of that spirit which, from all previous arguments, will be understood to possess that respect for, care of and love towards all other forms of life which are alone true morality and ethics.

It is essential to stop teaching morality in terms which can be mistaken for the philosophy of external and obvious valuation; of valuation which concedes that behaviour must be good if it is not ‘found-out’ to be bad. Rather must it be said that unless the inner aspect of one's attitude is healthy, the result of any behaviour will be psychological unrest and discontent.

One may succeed in the world and gain the adoration of many people, but if this is to fail to remain true to innermost nature it will mean failure in our own judgement of ourself and in the relating of our many parts to our whole nature. Since this is the root cause of unhappiness it is also where real success and failure lies and where one reaps and enjoys the real treasures of existence.

The essence of real religious and moral aspiration is not between ourselves and God but between ourselves and our Self. At the same time the monitoring activity of God and his many divine assistants is necessary, but not as a substitute for Self-confrontation, but rather to ensure that this condition comes about.

Aspirations towards God are therefore of the utmost value, not as a means of becoming a slave or servant of God, but in order that they can be directed towards the true goal which is the valuation of our True Self.

As we direct the love our children have for us in such a way that it enlarges their own nature and not in order to make them more devoted and servile, so our divine parents divert our love in such a way that it reflects back into our own essential nature again.

Love is therefore valued by God, not as something he wishes to possess, but as a positive expression of our highest attitude which he can receive in the spirit in which it is offered and then use for his creative work. This is the bringing of our individual nature to a condition of divine Self-consciousness.

Extracted from the close of the Chapter 'Education' in William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness (1974)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Divine Love - essay from The Great Gift (1977)

Divine Love

For those of us who are able to accept that behind creation is its Creator who we recognise as a God of love, our next step is to try and understand what a God of love really means. To do this we have to put it into terms that we can understand as a part of our own experience.

We can realise for ourselves that love can be passive or active. We can know for ourselves that it is possible to sit down and simply radiate love, like a light bulb radiates light, in all directions but not directed in any particular way to any particular thing. This is passive love.

Then we can also feel that it becomes a different sort of love if we begin to direct this radiation onto an object, say a stone. There is now a relationship, and a focus of attention between the lover and the stone. Then we can feel a difference again if we direct this loving attention onto something which can be termed to be more fully alive, such as a plant or a flower. This time we recognise a relationship which has a wider range of responses in it, and it is easier and more satisfying to love such a responsive thing.

But now, if we look at how we feel if we direct our loving attention to even more living objects such as pet animals, human beings and children we realise that our love and relationship can grow again and become even more valuable. And if these human beings are of a more deeply beautiful and gracious order, then the activity of our love leaps into higher and higher expressions which are more valuable and delightful.

Finally from the experience of our love directed actively to a most valuable human being, we can move again to a situation in which we are able to love a perfectly beautiful and gracious person, and this is our God of love, and because this God is most alive and responsive, this experience of actively directed love can be the most sublime. And although we now direct our love in all directions, because God is Divine Spirit and exists in all directions, our love is no longer passive but on the contrary, very active indeed.

In this highest form of active love we must therefore have the one who loves and the one who is loved in order to arrive at a responsive situation. So we have two individuals, our God of love and the one who loves Him, but it is very important to realise that at this precise degree of love the one who loves God enters into a Divine relationship in which both individuals are of the same order, even if God is far more mature than the individual who is loving him.

So at the moment that the individual really loves God as another individual who can be loved, then the two of them become friends in the Divine nature or specieshood to which they both belong. This means that God no longer has to be God, but can become a friend to the one who loves Him and can love his friend back again in the way that love must if it is to express the fulfilment of its nature.

The one who loves God also gradually realises that he is loving a real responsive individual with whom he is now a friend, and this experience is confirmed by all the other experiences of love to be different from worship. For worship is a sort of one-sided love which does not allow for a response and therefore cannot move into friendship, because in worship we do not relate to God as a living being but we idealise God in a fixed image that we have in our own understanding and thus we prevent Him coming alive. We do this, no doubt, out of a diminished sense of our own value and adequacy and out of a sense of modesty. But we only have to look at the nature of love for a moment to realise that the truest form of love does not have to behave in this manner to whatever it finds desirable to love.

In fact we discover that it is most unkind to worship others rather than to love them because it fixes them in a mould they do not wish to be fixed in; in fact by worshipping people we imprison them. But love does not wish to imprison the one it loves, above all, love longs to give expansion and enhanced beingness to the one it loves. Love longs to be in a creative and growing relation- ship with the one it loves. Love is the highest expression of life itself, and life is never static, but always wishes to be aspiring and developing towards new and untried possibilities ties.

So what I feel the term a loving God really means, is that this God is trying to develop us to a stage where we can become His friends in this deeply loving, active, personalised way which allows the creative fruits of a friendship to arise between them which constantly keeps pace with the liveliness and creative aspiration of the living spirit of our common Divine Specieshood.

When we enter this loving friendship with God, which enables Him to be a responsive individual as we are, then we discover that we are also able to befriend one another as well. And thus we find that God becomes our wisest and best friend among many friends. And if we look into the deep heart of love we will see that this is exactly what it has always wished for, and it is the motivation and mainspring behind the whole process that we know of as creation.

In a simple phrase we can say that the great longing in the heart of the Creator before creation began was the longing to give birth to individual children who would eventually become his friends in the everlastingness of the Divine Spirit which He himself exists in. The whole of creation is thus His method of bringing this about and it requires Him to give and us to receive the "great gift", which is the reality and conscious understanding of our own individualised Divine Being.

As friends, we know how important this individual difference we each have in ourselves is, even in the moments when we experience the greatest unity in love, or unity in the Beingness of life. And our growing wisdom helps us to understand that there is no simple or easy road to the development of this individuality in our natures. It cannot be programmed into us, or it would only be an artificial situation. It must be lived into our own nature by our own experiences and endeavours. We must learn the responsibilities that go with it and the pains and horrors that arise from the misuse and abuse of all aspects of its expression.

Thus we must see the need for the sort of freedom which allows for mistakes and abuse to occur if we are to live into the nature of our being for ourselves and not take short cuts which would only enable us to receive a part of the great gift that is being offered to us with such deep love and friendship.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Resolution of Grief

The Resolution of Grief

By William Arkle

Published in The Great Gift - 1977

A very deep form of grief is grieving over our own intuitive knowledge of our own value which we have not paid proper attention to, and we have not properly learned to use in the world for our own sake, or for the sake of others.

It's as though the grief is about a beautiful treasure that was within our reach all the time and yet we didn't stretch out and use this treasure and enjoy it in the way it should be used and enjoyed. The grief we feel of this very deep sort is often a grieving over the fact that we had within our reach another whole way of life, of this deep interior sort, which is the life which belongs to our divine beingness, and we hadn't used it, and we hadn't made it a part of our expressive existence with other people.

Now this sort of thing is obviously more apparent to us when our life is held up to us for examination, which happens when we've lost somebody like a husband or a wife - someone we've been living very close to and made a very big part of our life. If for any reason they are taken away from us, then we are left to face up to ourselves. In doing that, I think we may be left to face up to this realisation that so much of our life has been wasted on secondary things when it could have been used in a far more valuable way on primary things.

The primary things I am meaning are the primary things which belong to the level of our deep innermost being; the level in us which recognises and knows about the beautiful and the valuable - the morally high-tone qualities, the loveliness of life, the loveliness in people, the beauty of the character in people. It knows about meaning and purpose, but it also knows, unfortunately, that it can take a path in life which allows for a substitute personality, with substitute activities, to take the place of its primary self with its primary activities.

When we are talking about grief, we are not talking about somebody else in us grieving over our own reality, what we are talking about is our own reality grieving about its own self. In other words, when you are in a state of deep grief, you are the one who you are grieving about. It is only the one who knows about the loss that is able to grieve and only the real you is able to produce symptoms of deep and real grief because only you, the Divine you, knows sufficiently about what it has been out of touch with to be able to grieve that deeply.

It is a situation which, if you like, can be partly ugly and partly beautiful. It can be a self-resolving situation if you allow yourself to penetrate into the depths of true grief and don't stop at a halfway level, but you go all the way right into deep grief. If you go into deep grief you will start to get the feedback, the answer to true grief, because you will start to be with the self that you are grieving over. And if you start to be with that self you will start to be comforted by the nearness you have to your own reality all the time, which nearness you have forgotten about.

If you are in touch with your own reality and your own understanding, even if it is in a mood of grief; if you are in touch with that level of understanding, you will also be in touch with the level of your Divine Creator. I call the Divine Creator our Divine 'Father and Mother', from whom our being emanated; and through whose love for us, and through whose anticipation for our friendship, our existence is in the condition that we know it now.

Perhaps I should enlarge on what I mean by that. I mean that, from what I understand, the motivation for the whole of creation is that out of it should come a number of individuals who have chosen their own unique path to individuality and therefore become true unique individuals. The Creator longed for many of these true individuals to choose to realise 'Himself' and 'Herself' as a father and mother and as a friend; should choose to relate to this Creator as a friend, not so much as a God, but more as a friend. The more we grow in our understanding of our own reality and 'the gift', and the attitude behind the gift, from the Creator's position, the more we shall become able to take up this position of divine friendship with our Creator as well as with one another.

We shall be able to take up this position of divine friendship because, in our desire to read the heart of the Creator, we shall become more and more certain that it is the deepest thing that the Creator longs for. And with any friend this is the only motive we have - it is to read the deepest level of their Being and help to fulfil for them the deepest longings in their Being.

This is what friends long to do for one another. It is a very creative activity, and out of it comes an endless series of creative attitudes and creative activities. The one friend says to the other friend, 'From whoever I am, I have a great gladness about you, whoever you are.' And then the other says to the first one, 'From whoever I am, I am glad about you, whoever you are'. This gladness between both of them, and the lack of need to define the reality in either of them, creates a beautiful area of potentiality and creativity between them, from which flows an endless series of possibilities and of new actions and new responses, new life expressions.

And this is what life is, full-of-lifeness, full of potential and full of newness, it never wishes to repeat a thing that it has achieved once. It has such an ability to create and be creative, that it will always wish to do something in a new way, and it will always wish to live in a new, ongoing form of happening condition. Because we, in our human situation, feel we have such a paucity, such a lack of creativity, such a lack of ability, and are weighed down with our shortcomings, we find it hard to grasp that, behind all that, there is a reality in us and a reality in our Divine Creator which has the opposite attitude.

This is so aware of its ability and its potentiality and its creativity, that it wouldn't dream of using anything else but these faculties in itself. It loses all desire to repeat activities and it would never wish to do anything else but draw something new out of its vortex of potentiality continually, forever and forever. Now this is the sort of reality which, I think, the Creator has designed his university around. He's built a universe, which is a university, and He has sown us as seeds into this university, seeds full of potentiality.

But we have to start to actualise the potentiality. And in fact, to my understanding, we've already done that for many millions of years. We have lived many thousands of lives in relating to all sorts of levels of creation already, before we've got to the level of being a human being. And I think we have probably lived many, many lives as human beings as well, and some of us have gathered more from those lives than others. Some of us have matured more fully than others. But there is no hurry, for speed is no measurement of our value. I think that we learn to become 'who we are' and learn to under- stand the value of 'who we are' and learn to understand the meaning of all values, by taking part in this university; not by 'being' a worm, or a beetle or a flower or a stalk of corn or stalk of barley, or a piece of rock, but by 'living with' the life of that rock, living with the life of that beetle, living with the life of that fish, living with the life of that dog, of that cat, living with the life of that flower, of that corn, of that barley.

We 'live with' these life forms, we don't 'become' those life forms. We are divine sparks, divine elements of reality. These life forms are living their own life and the Creator allows us to live with them, and that is His teaching method. We occupy the same house of form that the beetle is using; so we get in there alongside the beingness of that beetle. We are not the beetle, but we feel we are the beetle. Then we do the same thing with a flower, then we do the same thing with a wild animal, then we do the same thing with a domestic animal, which is a more evolved form of animal until we become a human being. Then we do the same thing with the life form of a physical body; we are not that physical body, but we live and inhabit the same form that the life of the physical body inhabits and we have to learn to overcome, at one stage in our development, the physical reality of that physical form; which is its personality, if you like, its personal attitudes, and impose on that life form the attitudes of our own true beingness.

But we can only do that when we have reached a stage in our progress which enables us to understand that we are something other than the physical personality, that we are a soul, a spiritual reality, a divine reality. This is a definite step in our development, in our schooling, and we've met people in our life who give us the feeling that this is the level they have achieved, and we've met many other people who give us the feeling that they haven't yet achieved this level of separation.

They haven't started to understand that they are something other than their physical beingness. They are learning a great deal by being a physical personality, but they still have to learn to take the step of understanding that they are a divine soul inhabiting a physical body. They have a personality which has been built up by the conjunction of the divine self with that physical life body form, and that is what we call the persona, the outer self, the ordinary ego.

Behind the ordinary ego, or within the ordinary ego, is the divine ego. So there's nothing wrong with being egotistic in the proper sense of the word. There is something wrong with being egotistic in a narrow sense of egotism, in which everything is built up around the importance of its own self centre. But as this egotism grows, as it should do in a healthy being, it naturally grows into its bigger self, and the bigger self naturally grows into the little self, and the two integrate.

This is what psychologists describe as integration. It is the integration of the true self with the personality self of the physical body situation, and the two learn to live together and integrate completely. Then the personality becomes a wonderful instrument through which the divine self can experience, and learn, and interpret its learning, and communicate with other beings through physical forms, and through physical means of expression. In doing that, it learns a great deal, and helps others to learn a great deal, and it builds and builds and learns to express the divine potentialities that we've been talking about - the divine friendships and the endless possibilities which emanate from its true nature.

So there is nothing wrong with being an ego, which is another word for 'I' and 'Iness'. You never lose the sense of 'Iness'. You might lose the sense of knowing who your 'I' is, who you are, because the narrow sense of the personality ego - the smaller ego - often gets a very complete but restricted image of who it is, and it spends the rest of its life conforming to that image of who it is.

But the divine ego, the spiritual ego, the true self, is able to be itself and, at the same time, know that it is in a state of becoming. It isn't very concerned to circumscribe itself, to give itself a definite image, because it knows that if it does, that it's going to limit its ability to respond in an ever new way to new possibilities.

So what happens in life, is that we gradually learn to integrate the smaller sense of ego with the deeper and greater sense of ego; and, without losing a sense of 'I', the 'I' begins to become equally concerned with the well-being of others as it is with its own well-being; equally concerned with the happiness and the beauty and the possibility of the others in creation, its brothers and sisters, as it is concerned with its own reality.

So what happens, in a successful life, is that the ego broadens out and gets bigger in a proper loving, caring way; not bigger in a grasping way, which is centred on its own small and selfishly oriented appetites; more a growing, which is able to grasp the meaningfulness, and the value to itself, of the fulfilment of all other forms of life, and all other beings, and all its other brothers and sisters. Then the ego just grows and grows to include the well-being of all other egos.

But there's nothing wrong in the sense of ego awareness. What we call egotism, on the whole, reflects an unhealthy attitude in which everything is drawn into the small-self for a small-self satisfaction, small-self fulfilment of the wrong order, not large-self fulfilment for the higher order. The small-self fulfilment is a lower order appetite such as appearing to be important in the eyes of other people, appearing to be clever, appearing to be valuable in some way which is superior to other people, trying to be 'one up' on other people and so forth.

Well, all this has taken us a long way from the original idea of grief, but we come back again to grief with the understanding that there is all this to grieve about. We begin to sense that we have the capability to live with a higher understanding of who we are but we haven't used that capability. We may have allowed it to become foreign to our nature and then suddenly something reminds us that we have this understanding and this capability, then that situation is one which causes the deep grief which we have been talking about. For the soul of our nature, our divine nature, recognises the sort of thing which we have been talking about and recognises the fact that it has let itself down; it had drifted away from its true significance, from its true value and from its true meaning.

So, in a way, we should feel optimistic when we feel true grief because it is a sure sign that we are returning to the proper level of our being. It may be with a regret for what we have been doing with our life, but, at the same time, it is better to return with grief to the reality that we should be living with than be unaware of the fact that we are living a gay and superficially happy life which is, in fact, almost foreign and quite unimportant to the nature of the true self that we are.

We can understand that this is proper ground for feeling deep grief and deep sadness and deep disappointment and, of course, from that sort of grief we can develop overtones of anger with ourselves, impatience with ourselves. I suppose we can develop anger and impatience with the Creator and the way He has designed His system of teaching. We might feel angry that He hasn't stepped in and done more to remind us of what we would have liked to have been doing.

But on the other hand, we discover, the more we look at it, that the Creator's teaching method is to allow us to make mistakes and to allow us to get ourselves out of our mistakes. The deeper the mistake we make and the more we have to struggle to get out of that mistake, the more we are going to learn about the nature of our being.

It doesn't mean to say, necessarily, that we are going to be able to live a very saintly or holy or righteous life in the ordinary meaning of those terms, but, if we look at the purpose of the Creator, those terms surely do not describe the Creator's aim for our growth. He doesn't want holy and righteous and over-good beings to share his life with him. He wants these qualities in their proper proportion but only as secondary natures to the Divine nature itself, which is loving and caring and ongoing and friendly and creative.

That is the thing which you and I care about in our friends and you and I care about in our children. We don't want them to be over good, over cautious, over holy; over avoiding making mistakes, in a hurry to earn some recognition of being a very good and saintly character. This would go against the sort of quality which we would look for in our children. These may be spin-offs from a proper development of our own children but they wouldn't be the primary objects we would look for in our children. The primary ones would be affectionate, wholehearted friendship.

You see that friendship to us, and I'm sure also to our Creator, is more important than our ability to avoid making mistakes. As soon as we make a mistake we become, so to speak, unholy, unsaintly, unrighteous and not good. But in correcting those mistakes we gain understanding, and when we have truly gained a lot of understanding we become wise, and when we become wise we realise that wisdom is far greater than holiness or goodness or righteousness as we understand those things. For wisdom is the highest expression of love in action and from it such qualities as holiness, and righteousness and goodness are spin-offs. They are not the primary objective of wisdom.

The primary objective of wisdom is to be itself - wisely to he its loving creative nature. Wisely, that means to the best advantage of all its friends and all the situations that it is aware of. If we take a narrow view of the Creator's purpose for us, it might be the attainment of the ability to stay in a heavenly world that He created for us somewhere. To do that, the sooner we become holy and good and free of any sort of mistake the better.

But if we do that, then we are surely going to limit our ability to learn; to learn to understand who we are, to learn to understand all the qualities that are available for us to understand, because we will limit the mistakes that we are going to make and, therefore, we will limit the understanding that comes to us through the correcting of those mistakes.

I feel that it is possible to say that, if the Creator had simply wanted us to become beautiful, righteous children who did nothing but be good, as it were, and delight in the Divine quality of loving, blissful, beautiful serenity, then He would have arranged for us to be born directly into heaven where we would have been with all these qualities.

But if that had happened, then we would have lacked the understanding we are gaining through living through all those beautiful, heavenly qualities and their opposite, such as ugliness and unkindness and hatred and confusion, and pain and sorrow and grief and loneliness.

Now, through the understanding of these, negative qualities, we come to know what positive qualities really are; but if we had only known the positive qualities, we wouldn't truly have known what they were. We would have been with them but we would have had nothing to compare them with. And it is only through the art of comparison that we come to an under- standing of the qualities that we handle and are capable of handling.

We cannot become the friends, that the Creator wishes us to become to one another and to Himself, if we have not got the ability to understand the nature of the qualities that are available to our being. It's no good if we simply live as heavenly beings in heaven because we would have little companionship with one another, or for the Creator, in a creative sense.

We would have no ability to discuss the merits of the qualities that we know about. But if we have lived through them, as we do on earth; and their opposites, as we do on earth, then we would develop an ability to understand, objectively, the significance of beauty, of truth, of honesty, of things like kindness and care.

How would we know about loving kindness or loving care in a place like heaven? There would be no need for kindness or for caring as we know it, everything would have been taken care of. There would be nothing to be kind about. We would be with the quality of love, but we wouldn't be able to express it in the form of care, and we wouldn't know very much about the sort of qualities that come out of the experience of great friendship.

And these are the things that I think the Creator longs to give to us and wants to share with us in His nature. So, in a way, we might say that grief is a sort of grieving for the Divine in us, it's a sort of grieving for our own reality which we have a sense of. It is also a grieving for our Divine parents, and it's possible, I think, to imagine that our Divine parents also grieve for us; particularly if we have established some sort of friendship for them at some time and then we may have gone back on it again.

I also feel that the Creator's friendship for us and our friendship for the Creator must be as real and as chosen as our own friend- ships that we know about on earth. I don't think the Creator would force his personal friendship on us as a condition of our eternal life.

I think it is possible for us to become one with the Creator's being in a far more impersonal way without noticing Him/Her as a person; without taking up this personal love of a divine friendship, which is offered to us by the Creator and longed for, on our behalf, by the Creator. And I think the Creator often grieves at the fact that, out of the number of his children who develop the understanding of their divine nature, only a proportion develop the ability to realise that the Creator wishes, above all, to form a true and distinct friendship with each of us in this personal form of reality.

It may be true to say that we can only develop the strength and the understanding, to understand and appreciate such a friendship, if we have been through a hard school, such as the school of earth provides. And it's possible to imagine that, if we hadn't come to a school like the earth level of schooling, where mistakes happen often, and where we continually have to correct them, and we have to learn the understanding and the strength to correct them with, then, perhaps, we would not develop the strength or the understanding to take up the Divine friendship which is offered to us in its fullness, because we wouldn't have had the experience to appreciate what it signified, and what it meant. We might take up a relationship with the Creator of loving affection and a sort of worshipfulness, an adoration of His beautiful nature which we can sense, but we wouldn't have the understanding of the friendship nature of the Creator unless we had been through a lot with Him and He had been through a lot with us.

This is exactly what happens in a situation like earth. And I don't think the Creator would have forced us into this sort of situation which we've got into on earth. I think it is due to a series of rebellious activities. I think the Creator would have known that such activities would lead to pain and suffering on a very large scale so He wouldn't have forced them on us.

Yet, paradoxically, I think the Creator realises that when this situation came about, and we developed these unhappy, unpleasant and painful experiences, that they could be turned to very good ends and could increase the amount of the gift of divine understanding and divine strength that He is trying to give us, and in so doing, increase the amount of friendship and the amount of reality we could carry.

So, I think, out of the suffering of the earth is going to come a wonderful good, which many of us can't begin to imagine. Out of it is going to come a wonderful good which our Divine parents are perhaps longing for more than anything else, which is a conscious and deliberate taking-up of the friendship which they offer, and the affection which they offer.

We can only do that when we have sufficient understanding, sufficient maturity of being and sufficient strength of being, to sustain such a relationship, to carry the confidence and the trust and the love that such a relationship entails.

Another aspect of grief would be the sort of grief we might feel if we know that our life is coming to a close; if we are faced with death; the grief about the loss of life, loss of reality and the loss of the dear ones around us.

But, here again, if we really allow our feelings to go deeply into that grief, we realise that it brings the same harvest to us as the grief we were talking about earlier on. If we go all the way with that grief we get into a beautiful form of grief in which we realise we are at one with the being who values these things that we are grieving over; who values with us the beauty of the life we feel we are about to lose, the beauty of the people whom we are going to lose touch with, and this brings us to an understanding of reality which we have been looking for all our lives, to 'be with' in order to live the self that we have an intuitive, instinctive feeling about.

When we say we are grieving over the fact that we are about to part company with the world, and with our family and our friends, and our dear ones, the grieving is over the loss of love. If we get all the way into that grief we will realise that we are with the one who knows how to love. The grief and the knowing of how to value what we grieve over, we find, are in the same area of our being.

And this will bring us to a knowledge that we are truly with our Divine self and the grief becomes beautiful grief. There's no need to think that we have to lose that grief, all we do is transform it into a positive beautiful thing, because in this experience the loss makes the heart grow fonder, the anticipation of loss brings us closer to the lovingness of our own nature, and the lovingness of our own nature brings us close to our whole reality and the reality of our Divine parents, our Creator.

This grief can come as a wonderful gift to us if we accept it with the whole of our nature and are not afraid of it. If we take it upon ourselves, we will find that the grief is very close to the love that we've always wished to give full expression to. The grief itself is only an indication to us of the ability to love that we have in our nature, and this is exactly the confirmation of our own nature and of our own reality that we have always been seeking.

So any great pain of that sort, any great suffering of that sort, has behind it a compensation which is an exact measure of the pain, and which exactly meets our needs. We can feel, that in grief in general, we are not simply grieving for ourselves and grieving for our own reality and grieving for our Creator, we can also feel that the Creator is truly grieving for us and our own reality is grieving for us and the two forms of grieving are bringing us to ourselves.

If we go the whole way with it and don't defend ourselves from this grief and from this suffering, we will be drawn into our true self. And if we are drawn into our true self, we will be drawn very close to the quality which is in the nature of our Divine parents - our Divine Mother and Father, Creator. Like all things in life and like all the values that we are being given, the greatest events and the greatest values come through great joy and great suffering In the end we come to be wise and to realise that the fruit that we gather and the treasure that we gather is equally valuable from joy and from suffering.

We would feel as upset if someone tried to take away our suffering as we would if someone tried to take away our joy, and this takes us into the nature which we are, which is not only loving and very real but also has this instinctive understanding in it, which we call wisdom.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The irrelevance of 'choice', when poetic and intuitive consciousness has been achieved

Edited from the end of the chapter 'Conditioning Factors', in A Geography of Consciousness.

Do we possess the power of self motivation?

The simple answer is that it is impossible to be self motivated. The best we can achieve is a relatively large amount of conscious motivation mixed with a number of unknown and unrealised motivations. There is probably a degree in which we are all 'mediumistic' and there is probably a larger degree in which we are controlled by one of the entities with which we are associated.

We are acting 'mediumistically' when we channel our unconscious motives as well as when we channel our higher nature. We are also at the mercy of the 'things' which other people are receiving and translating into the world around us.

To be independent and in command of all our motives in the face of all this would be a victory indeed. One thing seems fairly obvious however, and that is the fact that we can only hope to cope with all these factors if we salvage the ability and awareness of our own individual divine nature. For without this overall attitude of our higher consciousness, we are not even able to see what the problems are which beset us.

So we have a certain amount of freedom of choice, but we are in a situation where we do not necessarily gain what we want by using this freedom. Rather do we profit best by sensing which are the sweet apples and which are the sour apples, and accepting the fact that we have no control over what is in the baskets.

At the moment our idea of freedom is the ability to make ourselves miserable and ill by eating all the apples in the first basket we choose. We don't like people to think we have made a mistake, and we feel that to possess and to consume a larger number of apples than other people is a measure of our success and intrinsic worth.

But freedom is far more subtle than that, for it involves the ability to choose that which is most fitting for the nature we possess and the situation in which we find ourselves.

Since we typically hardly concern ourselves with what we are, or what the significance of the universe is, it is not surprising that our concept of freedom is nothing more than a tribulation to us, and a mockery of our potential responsibility and aspiration. So not only is it virtually impossible for us to have freedom of motivation, or as people call it 'free will', but neither is there any particular point in possessing it, since it will not bring us to what we really want, but only bring us to what we think we want, or what we think we should want.

The little motivation we have should all be concentrated on the very light touch necessary to manipulate the helm of our ship.

We must realise that our job here is to learn to sail our ship well; then, and only then, to make a journey in it. We do not control the wind or the water and it does little good to pretend to be a type of boat which we are not. We must take a good look at our ship and our sails for they are already there. We must study the wind and the sea and learn to use them to move about safely and efficiently. We must ask and seek to know what lands are at hand, and we must decide which are the most favourable to the capability of our craft and the direction of the wind and state of the sea and visibility. We must record of how much food we can take and how well we can sale. By the time we have done all this, there will be no 'choice'!

To make a journey in a craft which we cannot handle to a destination we are not in a position to reach, just for the sake of feeling we have made a free choice, is a form of insanity which we are all inclined to indulge in, but which has no place in the scheme of things. The sooner we understand this the better, and it will save us the time and energy we waste in talking about freedom; for what we are really doing is trying to avoid the experience and understanding which is beyond the verbal level and beyond the level of prestige and self satisfaction.

This is the poetic and intuitive consciousness which enables us to begin to have a true knowledge of what is. After we have achieved this consciousness, the idea of freedom of choice or freedom of motivation no longer concerns us, because we will be too busy living our true nature.

What freedom of choice really means - how we should understand the matter - is as the ability we must develop to sense the whole of the situation in which we are involved, both in our own nature and in the world around us, and then to take the best course available.

Then we will recognise that real freedom is not in choosing, it is in seeing the irrelevance of choice.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Wisdom - an essay from The Great Gift

Wisdom - Bill Arkle, August 1976

Wisdom has to start with our ordinary understanding of the term 'wisdom' which we know is a relative term, in the same way as we know the term 'beauty' is a relative term - relative to the attitude and the perception, as it were, within the eye of the beholder. And so wisdom also is relative to the perception and the eye of the beholder of actions and responses which are measured in terms of being more wise or less wise. But, behind the ordinary terminology of wisdom, we may suppose that there is a deep absolute form of wisdom which is in line with, and in tune with, the absolute level of our being and the absolute creative intention behind the manifestation of the universes at all their levels, from the most ethereal level, which we call the heavenly levels, down through the more and more dense levels to the most dense and concrete, which we call the earthly levels.

My understanding of this absolute form of wisdom depends on an ability I believe we have to resonate with the deep heart of our being into the deep heart of the Creator's being and feel, with that very deep sense of in-feeling, how the Creator felt towards creation before it began. In other words one can learn to feel what it was that the Creator was longing for, aspiring to, or simply desiring, from the great work and the great effort that he has engaged in in what is known to us as creation. Now, if we can feel with all our deepest understanding, our deepest intelligence and our deepest perception, what it was that the Creator looked for, above all else, in creation, then, and only then, shall we be close to the absolute point of wisdom which I believe is in the absolute point of deepest desire in the heart of the Creator's being.

As I myself attempt to do this, I come away with the understanding that the greatest longing that was in the Creator's heart before creation, and which brought about creation and brought into existence the individual beings, who each of us is in the Creator's eyes and to one another, was the desire to have real individual friends, in the deepest possible meaning of that word. Friends to share his understanding, his joy and his wisdom within the context of real friendship, which creates a vital relationship between each friend and the other friend, from which ever-renewing possibilities and responses can grow. My feeling is that the Creator first of all wished to bring into existence real and individual children, whose nature was based on a part of his own divine nature, but the characteristics of which were to be developed by each of those individual children as they grew up in the universes, or the universities, of his creation. They would develop in the nature of their own individual spirits, so that each of those children would become a unique individual child and then, hopefully, would become more than a child - would wish to grow into a mature condition which was not as a child to the Creator, but was as an individual being to the Creator. Thus all these beings could each have creative relationships of friendship and gladness with one another and with the Creator. Not with the Creator as a special 'God' individual, who was not approachable as other friends are approachable, but He himself wanted to be able to befriend us and have a creative friendship with us as we befriend one another and have a creative friendship with one another.

In the heart of the Creator's being we find all manner of wonderful things; but we find, above all, great love, great affection, great beauty, great sweetness, great gentleness and great strength. We find all the great qualities, such as courage and devotion, which to us become deeply valuable properties of our most valuable relationship. Now, the nature of wisdom as we will try to define it, is something other than the nature of love.

We can understand that the Creator's nature is, as it were, all love, but wisdom is the application of that love to the purposeful aspiration or desire which emanates from that love which, in the case we are talking about, was to bring into existence real individual children who have unique characteristics of their own and who were truly separate and autonomous beings. These would learn to live and grow amongst one another according to the specieshood of the divine nature, but within that specieshood, would develop the ability to express their own unique characteristics and express the initiative and spiritedness which emanates from any healthy spiritual being. Thus they would be able, as they gained more strength, to stand apart and upon their own feet, in a metaphorical sense, in order that each of these individuals could be a unique polarity to which other individuals could relate, and between which living polarities, new, ever growing, vortices of creative potentiality would develop.

Now wisdom, as I would understand it, is the appreciation of the value that comes out of the effort, and the means to bring about this great desire, as the means become available in terms of this created universe at all its levels. We understand that, after the universe was created and prepared, the spirits, the particles of the Creator's being, which were individual units of his own being nature, were sown into this universe as pupils are placed in a university. In it they work from the lowest level of the university up to the highest level of the university and, eventually, learn to appreciate the nature and value of the university as a whole, from the highest level to the lowest level. Wisdom begins by understanding that these potential children cannot become real, in any sense of that word, if they are prestructured or pre-programmed in such a way that their individuality and their sense of selfhood cannot be properly developed and appreciated by them.

If the Creator in any way subverts the processes which maintain the individual autonomy of each of these children as they grow and mature, then the Creator is allowing the desire and longing to slip away from the possibility that the universe contains for the bringing about of that great longing. So, from the beginning, the Creator had to work with wisdom to create processes which would allow for the potentiality of each of these Divine particles, who were individual children in a potential condition, gradually to become aware of the structure of values and relationships that it was living in with regard to nature and to other individual beings. And this had to be brought about in such a way that at no time was the individual overawed or over-dominated by the too great nearness or presence of the Creator's own personality. For, if that occurred, then the dominance of the Creator's personality would stamp itself completely upon the individuality of the individual child and prevent that individuality flourishing in its fullness; which it must do if it is to carry any real value as a real child in its own right.

So we can understand that, from the beginning, a great wisdom was needed which understood that, although the Creator was longing that each of his children should understand the value of, and the nature of, each of the Divine qualities, these children could not have an objective understanding of divine qualities if they were not able to experience them in a condition which would allow for the opposites of those qualities to be experienced at the same time. Thus to enter into the judgement of the value of the qualities which each of them must learn to apply for themselves. It would have been very beautiful and very happy for us all to have been born into a perfect and heavenly environment, perhaps close to the person and, shall we call it, the home of our Divine Creator, but this would not have produced in us the qualities which the Creator's heart most longed for; which was a longing for the quality of unique individuality which each of us longs for in a friend.

A friend is one who can stand apart from us in strength and values us in freedom as we would value them in strength and freedom. We value our friends not so much in terms of their cleverness or their special abilities, but for their profound uniqueness of characteristics which they exhibit towards us as completely separate autonomous individuals.

Now wisdom has to learn to discriminate between the lower forms of love and affection and the higher forms of love and affection. The lower forms of love are not true forms of love at all, but are the desire and the need for one another to supply the gratifications which are necessary to the outer forms of our being nature and the appetites which go along with the outer forms of our being nature. The deeper and real forms of love and affection are not based on the desire to use individuals as a source of gratification of needs, but rather we are very deeply glad about the existence of the other individual in an entirely undemanding way. The basis of the friendship is nothing other than the deep and instinctive recognition of the divine individuality in that other being, and all that divine individuality implies in terms of potentiality.

So real friendship and real love is a very creative, purposeful, ongoing situation, which desires that new things, new possibilities, new responses, should forever arise from that friendship. Wisdom is that knowledge which recognises the nature of true loving relationships and true friendships, and recognises the way that the individual children of God have to be brought in a very slow and gradual state to a condition of self awareness, through which their individuality will receive the greatest encouragement to grow and develop without being overshadowed and overruled by the potency of the Creator's own being and characteristics.

So we can see that wisdom is that understanding which realises the value of the means, and every moment that those means are striving to achieve the end, which was the initial desire for divine children and divine friends to share divine life with. We are saying that wisdom is that understanding which realises that you can only have a deep friendship with an individual who has a deep set of experiences and characteristics; who has deep awareness, which is supported by strength and integrity, of the objective significance of each of the divine qualities which are exhibited in the university, the universe, and which come to us through the activities that each of us play out for the other in the processes or life.

Wisdom will therefore be at great pains to draw out the potentialities and the benefits from the rich mixture of spontaneous responses that all of the individual children of God produce for one another. So far as those responses are unique and individual, then so far do they carry the possibility of producing some spontaneous mixture which did not exist before, and, upon which, other spontaneous mixtures and responses may be built, to produce new possibilities for new understandings and new growth, not only in creation but in terms of eternal purpose and eternal value.

So we can see then that wisdom is that ability in us that can stand back and, through its knowledge that you can only have a thin relationship with a thin personality, can appreciate the thickening of the characteristics of individuality which occur in a very rich and spontaneous and uninhibited form of existence, which is full of initiative and spontaneity. This is the spontaneity which makes mistakes and realises, through its own sense of responsibility, the fact that it has made mistakes, and, through its own sense of responsibility, wishes to put those mistakes right again and correct them. Now this sort of richness can only come to those individual children in a level of the university in which mistakes can occur. My own feeling is that these mistakes can only occur at the lower end of the university, and, as our nature gravitates to a more and more ethereal level of experience in the university, so does the possibility of creative spontaneity and endeavour become less and less.

Whereas, at the higher levels, the enjoyment and adoration of the beautiful divine qualities, that are not only in the Creator's being but present as potentialities in our own being, absorb our whole attention, the desire to use our initiative and the desire to enter into creative and exploratory forms of life, disappear. We can understand that if our educational processes at the lower end of the university were perfect as they are in the higher and more heavenly level of the university, then the initiative to make mistakes and correct them again may be lacking. We would be unable to experience the opposite of all the values of the divine nature, such as love being experienced against the quality of hatred, and kindness being experienced against the quality of cruelty, and weakness being experienced against the quality of strength, and beauty being experienced against the quality of ugliness.

Now this ability for us not only to see and feel and experience the qualities which we come to value most deeply in terms of their opposites, but our ability to get into situations, through the use of our own initiative, which have to be corrected and thoroughly understood before we become clear of those situations again, does not occur at any other level than that of the most concrete and separate forms of creation, which the physical level of creation represents. It represents the most crystallised form of the Creator's spirit in action and therefore, at this level as in no other, are we able to define the specific significance of all the divine potential qualities which exist in our nature and in the Creator's nature; through perceiving them and understanding them, being involved with them, having to use them, having to use them correctly, and correct them when we use them incorrectly.

This sort of experience produces true wisdom and true understanding, and produces in us a deep awareness of the significance of the Creator's great work on our behalf. This attitude towards the significance of wisdom helps us to understand why it was, in the allegorical sense, that the Creator allowed us to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and yet, at the same time, warned us that it would be a thing which would cause us pain. The Creator knew that in order to fulfil the great longing in his heart to produce craggy, leathery, strong individuals, who had deep characteristics of individuality in them, we would have to enter into a level of experimental living in which mistakes occurred and which pain would be felt as a result of those mistakes occurring. As the source of love and affection, the Creator himself could not force us into that situation; he could not place us in that place in which pain must come to us. But on the other hand, he could Go straight to large imagetake us close to the door which led into this field of experiment and pain, and hopefully wait for our initiative to become strong enough to take us through that door. So that we, from our initiative, entered into the realm of pain and suffering through the spiritedness of our spirit and the desire to know all things; to register the true value of ourselves in a deep sense and to register a sense, which is very strong in us, of being the arbiter of our own actions and the carrier of responsibility for those actions.

In other words, it was the deep, instinctive sense of the godlike creative experimental and responsible individuality which led us through that door into the world of the knowledge of good and evil, and caused us to be engaged with good and evil in a way which we were not engaged with them before. Because, before we entered that door and experimented unwisely with the forces of our own being, we were not engaged with the processes and the qualities of evil, we were only engaged with the processes and the qualities of good.

Although we may have chosen to remain on the good side of that door and not pass through it, if we had done so we would have lost the potentiality of growth and development which can only come to us through the deep, tragic, heroic and painful experience which comes to us through the misuse of our godlike abilities, but which also registers in us the godlike remorse and the godlike desire to correct the mistakes we make as we make them.

So that great wisdom, whereas it will not force people into situations which it knows are incorrect and painful, at the same time will learn to wait for the individual to work out the results of such wrong engagement in life. Because wisdom knows that it is only through the wrong engagement in life that some greater value than obedient perfection can arise, which is not an ability to be in perfect harmony with all the beautiful qualities of the divine nature, but is, in fact, the ability to know on its own account, to know for itself, to know objectively within its own experience, why the divine values are divinely valuable, and what the values are which detract from and destroy those divine values.

From that type of knowledge arises a great strength and a great wisdom and a great love, which cannot arise if that spirit has not passed through the gate into the world of knowledge of good and evil. It is only on the other side of that gate that great strength will be required to recover from mistakes, and it's only on the other side of that gate that great mistakes will be made and great understanding developed in order to recover from those mistakes.

So we can see that great wisdom is not engaged in interfering with the processes of life in order to tidy them up, in order to do away with disharmony, in order to do away with the crosscurrents of life which stir the pot of experience and produce a rich soup of opposing currents and values and desires and attitudes. Yet, at the same time, wisdom is certainly not indifferent to suffering, and it is not indifferent to the fact that continually the experiences produce a stumbling and a faltering, and mankind has to be rescued and brought back to a reasonable level of buoyancy again from which further movements and further experiments can be made.

In a sense, although wisdom does not interfere, wisdom is always on the lookout for a situation which has gone too far, and become so negative that nothing of value can arise from the situation anymore. Then wisdom will try and suggest to an individual who is stuck in such a situation that there is a way out which that individual hasn't yet seen.

Thus, the way out will produce a form of recovery which will lead to the individual realising why he has fallen, why he has got stuck in a situation which has stopped life happening to that individual, stopped experience growing and developing, stopped understanding and awareness growing in the individual.

Wisdom, while it will stand back and allow people and individuals to make mistakes, will equally engage in rescuing people from mistakes and from over-stressed situations, from which those individuals cannot rescue themselves. We can see that wisdom is a very deep awareness which is continually balancing out all the processes engaged in building deeper and deeper characteristics into the individuality which exists in each of the divine children of the Creator.

Wisdom is encouraging each of those divine children to grow into a level beyond childhood, which is more mature than childhood is, which is a level of growth in which divine friendship can occur between the individuals and their Creator.

Wisdom will forever be observing the balance occurring in experience, particularly at a physical level, in order that this absolute value can be extracted and made use of in every situation. So that wisdom is not so much engaged in easing the burden of life, as it is engaged in the harvesting of the fruits of the burdens of life. Wisdom develops an ability to see that the harvest in life is not at the level of ease, happiness, bliss and joy, but exists in a level of beingness in our nature which is at a very deep level of strength and integrity and selfhood which, while it is being autonomous and highly individual, is also becoming aware of its unity and loving relationship with all other forms of selfhood.

So we are saying that the deep wisdom which exists in the Creator's nature, and which we can learn to understand, is a deep wisdom which values not only the individual who is a friend to each other individual, but values the depth of character and strength and integrity, the leathery, craggy, strong, warrior-like toughness and individual responsiveness that each individual can develop in their own right. And wisdom recognises that individuality which doesn't have strength and doesn't have deep experience, is less valuable.

Although all the divine qualities of heaven are something we must have an experience of, and a taste of, wisdom recognises that, if these qualities are not understood arid lived at this outermost physical level of the universe, they are not fully appreciated in terms of their opposites, and therefore do not produce the deep understanding, the objective valuation, and the deep strength which can support them and which is needed in any true individual.

Wisdom recognises that there are three things that we need to achieve. First of all our unique separate beingness, then the objective understanding of values, which produces the ability to understand the real quality and value of all things, and then the strength and integrity which is necessary to support the being and the understanding; and it is on earth that these experiences have been made available for us, to a degree which they may not be available for us in any other form of experience. That is why there is a wisdom that is able to grow from the earth which is so valuable.

The essay Wisdom, published in The Great Gift, by William Arkle - 1977

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Hand of God - a prose-poem vision from c1960

The Hand of God

By William Arkle (self-published as a pamphlet in 1960)

I came to the point of love at my inmost heart, and I was glad and at rest, like unto the end of things. But the point was not a point, it was a doorway opening both inwards and outwards. Though I had thought to rest there for ever, I could not do so for long, since my deepest feelings pulled me. So pushing gently inwards I passed through the doorway and went in.

Then it was if I had walked onto the palm of the hand of my God, who had now become my great friend. The palm of His hand was as the most sensitive place in his heart might be. It was tenderly aware and responsive, so that I stopped still in case I should hurt it.

In some strange way the hand was the heart and it extended beyond my understanding in all directions unto the fingers. While the palm of this great hand was content to be at rest, as I was, the fingers had a longing in them to express the nature that was the heart of the hand. The place that had been a doorway had now become like a whole country opened from within.

As I stood in the sun of that moment, I was gathered into the song of a bird and I was with the substance of that song in a way which I had always longed to be. The sound rained on me and touched my spirit with a quickening, like a silver dart, which sent it shimmering outwards to all spaces that lay about me.

Each phrase of the song of that bird became like a book whose pages I could have written and drawn on for ever. For I overflowed with the means to say so much that had only been partly said. I, myself had only been partly said. But now I was among the saying and the understanding that was a fullness of my love and the delight of my God, and such gladness was between us both.

With a voice that needed no sound, my friend spoke through the whole of the vast country. His hand and His fingers were full of the expression of each word. The fingers not only held fast the treasure of the hand, but they were also the means of discovery. The spirit of this discovery was in need of companions, and I could be such a companion. For that which remained to be discovered lay out beyond the finger-tips of God's person in a larger reality of being.

Although I had not moved, my understanding had now grown beyond the bird song, out into the hills and meadows of this land; which land is only a way of saying the person and quality of this great friend. So, all about me lay qualities that cannot be said and at last I could be with them and more truly know myself. I realised how like my friend I had grown in ways which were yet real to me alone and to Him alone. And there, as I came abreast a hill, I saw in the distance the camp of His companions and, as I approached, they were all my companions and were remembered.

Here was a place where our God met with us and we also met with one another. Some were concerned with the harvesting of friends from among God's children, while some were enjoying the fruits of our Being nature, which we all shared and exchanged with ease. Others spoke of questing out into the potency of Divine nature, seeking for the refinement of greatness and beauty. Some went alone, others together and with them went the person of God in loving company. Such songs went up of sweetness and such chords were struck of gentleness, matched with burning love and endeavour, that they continually mingled about the sun. Now and then this caused a great leap in the heart of the whole hand and the sun flashed outwards to us all, and the peace, in which all was dressed, became more hushed and more deeply still, lengthening recognition and kissing the inmost heart of things.

Those who went out to the harvest passed through the doorway of the point of love where I had come in. There they met and discussed their work with those who lived about that point. Such did not see the door, as I had not seen it at first. When they were ready, down and outward each team would go. Some to tend the seed beds, others the garden and others again the fields that lay about the garden. So the harvest of friends was brought in, through patience and toil and pain. But it was their work which they longed to do; seeing in each friend an endless book of pages, filled and unfilled, to be read and to call forth response with freshness and difference; to be a delight upon the everlasting hand and to all who know it. Such who did this work became strong against the darkness of distance in which the seedlings root, away from the smile direct whose eyes would burn and hinder their growing and bending, unlike another's as it should become.

For the affection of the smile and the blue understanding which spreads from the eyes of God will seal the bond and comes after the growth which can support it, otherwise the bond is slavery not required. So first that smile begins to grow within each plant as goodly wholesome care, conceived by each to please itself alone. Then the foundation is sure and the growing and bending of the journey builds sure the friend who has no like. None other can we love aloft towards the doorway of the hand of the great heart.

How does the gladness grow among those who stay upon the palm of this hand, living among the hills and streams that cannot be said, who have the bird and song always and who thrill with the sunflash and the eyes. Long does the spirit drink such things and far does the loveliness spread when companionship rejoices unhindered in opal light and gentle ways. For the softness that becomes us here is strength and the sweetness is understanding, clear and unconfused; power only serves and is not sought by those who reach this place. Though beyond and beyond goes His spirit, to be uncovered, to be disclosed to those who search it out, or deep in their own well find it.

Then go up to this house. He will ask you in and She will greet you there. Father and Mother of us all, dwelling in a valley of the hills that are not, but are the hand that is the heart always. From this place their spirit never moves and in this place is the measure of all things kept safely. But you may go in and touch direct the uttermost. Then you will have the foundation about you you did not know to need. It remains in the smile there and all things are borne up by it. This is what is served to every friend who comes.

The light of Their eyes is to you and outward through the window is the view that goes to them that search and find and make and make again. Exploration and refinement bring back to the table in the hall the subjects of our gathering there. Here may all experience be added for the furthering; newly found and ancient, every value is potent to the plan that grows towards another day, when this day is complete.

So shall the harvest live on about the uttermost and the persons whose one life is for all and for friendship, whether They be seen or not, whether They be understood or not. They look upon their children to see who will stand and bear this friendship everlasting; or if, sadly, too much modesty or too much virtue may cause them to melt from this. Knowing no friend but Holiness, there can be no room in their ungathered love for such a self, it was somehow shamed away. Yet I see upon the table in the hall a project offering hands again to each such essence unfulfilled to friendship. We will come to it again another day.

Long would be the telling of this aching hand whose heart shall hold friends and teach the art to many in that country that cannot be said, between whose spirits the potency of difference so gladly spreads to uncover and display a growth to all things new.