From what I have been able to ascertain about my past incarnations, in my previous lifetime I was something of a reactionary writer, deploring the moral condition of the world in the mid 20th century and stubbornly campaigning for a return to Victorian morality, if not an earlier standard. However, I am no longer a reactionary. Hoping for the return of the past is a futile exercise.
Creation is ever moving forward into greater and more perfect forms of expression, urged on by the ceaseless evolutionary tide of the Universal Spirit. Attempting to return to the past is as hopeless as paddling upstream against a gale force wind.
The reactionary sees only the patch of the stream that he is currently in; and finding the waters choppier than he expected, he stubbornly paddles in the opposite direction. The spiritually enlightened man sees the stream from start to finish, and does not concern himself with the places where the water gets rough – he concerns himself only with where the stream ends up. He knows that all works out for the greater good, and the rough patches of water are simply the tide following its natural course – the course of least resistance – with no regard to the conditions it may produce along the way.
We certainly appear to be in rough waters at the moment. Never before in recorded history has there been such a rapid, universal breakdown of order in the world. Before the 20th century, it appeared as though most of society’s institutions were slowly inching towards a brighter future. Many of the New Thought pioneers proclaimed the turn of the century as the dawn of the Golden Age. Now, a century and a bit later, the nuclear family is a smouldering ruin. Divorce rates are at an all-time high. Men, and ever-increasingly women, are using porn at unprecedented rates, as a desperate substitute for real-life relationships. The education system is immersed in political propaganda, yet many students make it to high school with only the most rudimentary literacy and numeracy skills. The most widely praised and awarded art celebrates the grotesque and eschews the beautiful; real artists are marginalised while modernist con-artists collect government grants to produce trash. I could go on and on, but I’m starting to sound like a reactionary.
However, unlike in my previous lifetime, I understand now that the Universal Spirit is absolutely impersonal and impartial. It brings about its designs through a colossal law of averages, and takes the quickest and most efficient path in doing so. Human preferences do not come into the equation at all. If the fall of humanity in the 20th century has been the greatest of all time, it is reasonable to assume that the reaction to this fall will be proportional. Even if somehow it is not, we must not be unnerved. The Universal Spirit knows much, much better than us how to convey us to our ultimate destination, and the most efficient means may not always be the most palatable to human tastes.
Am I glad there is an epidemic of porn addiction in the world? Absolutely not! Do I wish there were laws prohibiting the production and sale of pornography? In many ways, yes. But what I would like even more than that is to live in a world where people don’t need to be told to avoid porn, either by laws or by societal norms. They avoid porn because they understand for themselves the damage it causes to body, mind and soul, and avoid it like rabies without even being told to. The men who have suffered through porn addiction and conquered it are the men who are the least likely to want to return to that hog trough. They’ve been there, they know where it ends, and if their conquest of the habit is whole and entire then they will see nothing of the mysterious allure in porn that their fathers in the 1960s may have thought it held. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but once learnt you don’t forget it. And such lessons don’t die with the individual who learns them, either – they remain in his subconscious accumulated spiritual knowledge and eventually pass into the collective consciousness. This is just one lesson of many that society needs to learn, of course – and we are certain to learn a lot from this current mess!
When a reactionary looks back at certain images of the past, it’s tempting to see only the good things, and forget that even the rosiest portraits of society were hardly the picture of a complete and perfected utopia. Take the superficially ordered society of America in the 1950s. We see images of a rosy-cheeked mother in a floral apron cooking dinner for her family, while a neatly dressed, hard-working father smokes his pipe and reads his newspaper by the open fire. Two smiling children – one boy and one girl – sit happily at the table playing board games. Who could see such an image and fail to realise that society has lost something precious? Make no mistake – that society was a great deal happier than our own. But even without the influence of cultural forces proactively trying to destroy it, it could not have lasted. The world has a long, long way to go until it reaches the level of consciousness where any such society can have any permanence. Until then, we will remain stuck in a loop where good times create weak people, weak people create hard times, hard times create strong people, and strong people create good times. If all we are trying to do is create another 50s utopia, the people living in it will become weak before long. We cannot legislate utopia into being, either with religious laws or civil laws. The kingdom of heaven is within us, and all people must find it before we will have heaven on earth.
So how do we apply this knowledge in our daily lives? Simple – cease paddling against the tide. Things are exactly as they need to be in the world, considering its present state of evolution. Although not complete, the plan is still perfect and everything will come to fruition in its own good time. When you notice yourself railing against circumstances, recognise without judgment that it is nothing but the ego throwing a tantrum. The more of self, or ego, that remains within us, the more we feel the tyranny of our own preferences nagging at us. Conversely, the more we rid our souls of self and seek only to cooperate with the unfolding of the divine plan, the more we see and profoundly feel that everything is exactly as it ought to be, in ourselves and in the world. And naturally, the less resistance we create to the inevitable tide of the Universal Spirit’s plan. When preferences cease to have a hold over us, we cease to create resistance and simply “go with the flow”. When we no longer desire things to be any way other than how they are, then things are always right with us. We always want what we have, therefore we always have what we want. Moreover, the more we obey the resistless tide of evolution, the less use the Spirit has for averse circumstances. If all this sounds like just a spiritualisation of stoicism, it is not – it is far, far more profound. This profound spiritual truth is taught in Taoism, Christianity and Buddhism – it is certainly not my own invention.
But what’s that, you say – God creates averse circumstances in our life? I thought all of our circumstances were entirely self-created? Yes, that is true – however, if there is anything in your life that you have as yet failed to change, then there is clearly a discrepancy between your intellectual understanding of your potential to control your life, and the reality of actually doing it. Do not misunderstand how the process of creation works. If you suffer a misfortune next week, it is probably not because of that one errant thought of anxiety that you had while driving to work last week. Most circumstances that occur to us are not so directly self-inflicted. We understand the potential to control circumstances, but we know that we are not quite there yet. It is this ‘knowing we are not quite there’ which creates a life that is somewhat beyond our control. We may have learnt to control parts of it, sure, but controlling the entire thing is just too far beyond our current understanding. If we could somehow wake up tomorrow and deeply understand that we have the power, then all the circumstances of our life would come under our conscious control. But gaining this understanding is the entire process of our evolution.
Into this void where we believe we do not control things, flows a stream of ordered chaos. The Universal Spirit can and does use this stream of chaos to bring us averse circumstances, if they are to our ultimate benefit. Even if you hold the view that every aspect of this seemingly chaotic stream represents some particular aspect of your thoughts and actions that requires remedy – and that not even a bug can splatter on your windscreen without a corresponding thought-cause – my point still holds good. Creating less resistant energy is still bound to result in us manifesting fewer circumstances that we want to resist.
So when you find your ego kicking and screaming against circumstances, stand apart from it, just for a moment. Recognise what it is doing, and simply observe it without judgment. Then listen for the voice of your higher self within. It will tell you that all is well, as it ever has been and always will be.