A rational explanation of karma

In my previous article, I alluded to some of the teachings of Buddhism that I have objections to. While I was researching for a potential article on this topic, the subject of karma naturally came up. I hold some very strong objections to certain principles of Buddhist karmic teaching, but this article should not be read as an attack on any particular spiritual tradition, and if it were to be read as such then Buddhism would not even be the major target. Rather, this is an attempt to cast a critical eye over some of the popular, superstitious beliefs associated with karma to see whether they stand up to the scrutiny of logic.

Some may consider it arrogant of me to take my axe to the root of this millennia-old teaching; but frankly, it’s long overdue. I’ve done the same thing before with the new age gospel of prosperity and the idea of heaven as a place – and the people who have taken the trouble to comment have generally thanked me for finally making sense of an otherwise foggy topic.


There is an unfortunate belief amongst new age people that karma is a vindictive like-for-like law, by which our every thought, word and deed, even the most trivial ones, rebound upon us in exactly equivalent measure. I suppose one of the reasons it has taken such deep root in new age thought is because we humans find it so difficult to forgive others. If we have any sort of spiritual aspirations then direct hatred is out of the question, so karma allows us to spiritualise our revenge by reassuring ourselves that we’ve fully forgiven the person – but that’s OK, because karma will get him in the end.

It’s not just vapid new agers who believe in this idea, though – it has even taken root in the minds of some scholarly individuals of the New Thought persuasion. I was shocked to find that even the great biblical scholar Emmet Fox subscribed to this like-for-like idea, which he believed to be supported by Christ’s sermon on the mount. In his book on the sermon, Fox writes:

For every unkind word that you speak to or about another person, an unkind word will be spoken to or about you. For every time that you cheat, you will be cheated. For every time that you deceive you will be deceived. For every lie that you utter, you will be lied to. Every time that you neglect a duty, or evade a responsibility, or misuse authority over other people, you are doing something for which you will inevitably have to pay by suffering a like injury yourself. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

The first major logical flaws in this interpretation of karma are that it interferes with free will, and appears to create a sort of infinite spiral of negativity. If I murder someone, then someone else will be compelled to murder me, either in this life or the next. The person that murders me is then required to suffer murder, compelling someone else to murder them. And logically, the cycle appears to be incapable of being broken. The only possible way the scales of karma could ever be balanced in such a situation would be if the perpetrator and the victim were the same in both cases. In other words, Cain murders Abel in one lifetime – then in a future lifetime, Abel murders Cain, and the scales are balanced. In this situation, there is no need for an ongoing cycle of violence. But what sort of justice is this, that compels Abel to murder Cain, just because he himself was murdered by Cain in a previous lifetime? That is neither just nor a free act of the will.

And Fox would have us believe that all acts create karma, even the little ones. This puts us at the mercy of an iron-clad destiny where everything that comes to us, big and small, is the result of our past actions. And all the actions we take, big and small, are seemingly preordained by the necessity of fulfilling some karmic return in the people we come into contact with.  Some will dispute this by arguing that there is no need to compel anyone to perform any particular actions, because human nature is such that there will always be people willing to commit all manner of acts, good and bad, and that the Universe is simply rearranging circumstances to satisfy justice, using the materials it is given to work with. But this argument has the same flaw discussed above – it requires an endless cycle of evil acts, and appears to prevent humanity from ever evolving beyond it. Furthermore, any universal law that has fickle human nature as one of the links in its chain of causation, is no universal law at all. The laws of the universe are self-balancing by their very nature. Gravity, for example, does not require the co-operation of humanity to carry out its effects. However predictable human nature may be, it is impossible to guarantee the operation of any universal law that is dependent upon the actions of a free human will.

The old Buddhist teaching that evil karma results in us being reborn as one of the lower animals has similar problems. Firstly, it is completely opposed to the universal law of growth, which is a forward-moving, evolutionary momentum, not a shrinking, devolutionary one. We may frustrate the law of growth through negative actions, for sure. We may create so much resistance that we even slow it to a crawl – but it is there nevertheless, nudging our soul onward towards its final destiny to become God in individualised form. The law of growth cannot set an opposing, devolutionary momentum in motion. Such a momentum would be tremendously difficult to escape from, and would surely result in the eternal doom of many souls. In fact, it would probably doom all of us, since we have all surely committed some major evil act throughout our soul’s journey across lifetimes.

Believing that there could possibly be a devolutionary momentum in the universe is equivalent to the old, noxious error that has retarded humanity for millennia – that is, believing in evil as having a substantive existence in itself. This is the chief error warned against in the parable of Adam and Eve in the garden. All Adam and Eve’s problems are caused after they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There are not two opposing forces in the universe, but only one – and what may appear to be a negative power is only the one good power being used destructively rather than constructively. Refer to chapter 2 of Thomas Troward’s Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning for the definitive explanation of this topic.

By the way, some mistakenly believe that being reborn as one of the lower animals is a tradition held in certain third world countries, which is not actually supported by any Buddhist teaching. This is incorrect – every school of Buddhism that I know of teaches it, although I have heard some teachers explain it away as a parable, or a non-literal teaching of the Buddha that was used to make an impact on his hearers. Still, by my reckoning most serious Buddhists believe in it as a literal truth. They generally teach that the lower animals cannot accumulate any further karma, which eliminates the possibility of an endless downward spiral but still leaves the lower animals trapped in their state for a potentially very long time, with no guarantee of escape. Presumably, if rebirth into human form ever happened, such a person would hardly be well placed to avoid falling back into the animal state again. The whole thing is difficult to reconcile with the law of growth and the concept of an all-good, all-loving universe.

It also compels the Buddhist to make a moral judgement over another living soul, because by the very fact of him being in human form, the Buddhist must assume his moral superiority over the animal. Of course, no Buddhist who is serious about his religion would suppose that he is permitted to indulge any feelings of superiority over any other living creature. Much less would he consider himself entitled to abuse animals in retribution for the animal’s past sins. Such actions belong only to ignorant people who cling to Buddhism as a superstition and a hollow identity but who do not care to follow any of its teachings in any detail. Still, a judgement of moral superiority over animals is required in order to fully accept Buddhist teaching – thus putting the Buddhist at odds with Christ’s warning to “Judge not, lest ye be judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

We are forced to make an even greater judgement if we accept the old Hindu superstition that the Indian caste system is the natural outcome of karma. The lower castes have long been fed the offensive lie that being born poor or ugly is the result of bad karma in a previous life. Being born beautiful and rich is, naturally, the result of good karma. This belief serves the higher castes well, but it is instantly disproved by the complete lack of any correlation between the possession of wealth and the practice of virtue, or the possession of beauty and the practice of virtue.

So what is karma, really? The first component of genuine karma is what I call explicit karmic energy. These are a specific species of negative energy that can be identified and cleared by the subconscious mind, and which appear to be created by the subconscious as a sort of internal response of the higher conscience. Such energies are usually only created in response to relatively large infractions. For example, thinking a single unkind thought about a person is unlikely to generate any of these energies, but being severely unkind to them over a period of time will very likely do so. The judge of the matter is our higher conscience, and its assessment does not always marry up to our ego’s typically flattering assessment of our own actions.

These energies can be easily cleared from a subject, as long as the subconscious is able and willing to divulge their existence – which it will usually do after some investigations by a skilled healer. If the energies are not cleared, then they form a sort of debt that must be paid by attracting circumstances that tend towards making amends. The beauty and perfection of the Law of Growth is evident in the fact that karma is more rehabilitative than punitive. Of course with that said, the rehabilitative circumstances attracted by such karmic energies may not be to our liking, and we are well advised to avoid accumulating any such debts.

The other component of what we call karma is simply the natural, unavoidable consequences of our own life choices. For example, if we are in the habit of stealing, then we are sending out an energetic signal of scarcity and dishonesty, which means that we are more likely to attract scarcity and dishonesty to ourselves.  The more negative thoughts, feelings and actions we indulge, the more of them become ingrained in our energy system – either as rigid beliefs and habits, or as stuck energies that can’t be cleared from the energy field without a rise in consciousness or the intervention of a healer. Any explicit karmic debts we accumulate are also added into this mix, and the resulting negative energetic signal put out by us will have a tremendous impact on the kind of circumstances we encounter in our daily life.

Even if the person ceases from overtly dishonest acts, he may still have to suffer additional consequences for a period of time, until his energetic system is purified by his persistence in virtue. Thus, all residual negative energy caused by persistent negative acts forms a kind of debt that must be paid. The only way around payment of the debt is to repent of the negative acts so completely and thoroughly that our consciousness is raised to a higher level. In a higher state of consciousness, negative energies cannot affect us, and they begin to be automatically cleared by the body.

Thus Christ’s instructions to the recipients of his physical healings: “go, and sin no more.”

For those who cling to pretty spiritual beliefs as a sort of security blanket, the old beliefs on karma die hard. But for those of you who are seeking rational spiritual beliefs to give your assent to, I hope this article was of some use.

How do psychics predict the future, unless the future is fixed?

Let me begin answering this thorny question with a categorical declaration: the future is absolutely not fixed! As we will discover throughout the course of the article, many events are highly predictable – even highly likely without drastic intervention – but none is fixed or inevitable.

How then do psychics manage to predict the future, often in minute detail, unless at least some aspects of our lives are preordained? There are several different explanations for this, ranging from the mundane to the highly metaphysical. Let’s start with the most mundane.

Let’s suppose I visit a two-bit gypsy psychic at a carnival, and she tells me that sometime in the next month, I’m going to meet a beautiful woman with long strawberry blonde hair. Although I may have doubts about her authenticity, still, being a single man this is a thought that I might very much like to come true. Even in spite of some doubts, it is possible that the gypsy’s prediction may set up enough curiosity and anticipation to make the event come to pass. Naturally a more credulous customer may accept the suggestion with even less resistance, and make its fulfillment even more likely. Hence the gypsy psychic is simply using the Law of Attraction on behalf of the client. The meeting with the beautiful blonde was not preordained, but rather was set up by the thought planted in the client’s head.

The second type of psychic prediction is one that many people have experienced first hand. It is a precognition of something that comes to pass shortly afterwards. We may think of a friend we haven’t heard from for some time, then soon after we receive a phone call from them. We may get a song stuck in our head, and then it gets played on the radio soon afterwards. Once the ability is honed, we may be able to consciously predict a person’s course of action, or even the outcome of sporting events, elections and so on.

All of this is easily explainable, and does not require any belief in the fixedness of the future. In all these examples, the future event had already been determined in advance of the outcome being known to the public. For example, radio playlists are typically created in advance – meaning that the decision to play a certain song had already been made before the song was actually played. The long-lost friend had probably thought of us already and made a decision to contact us before they actually dialed the number. The person receiving the premonition has merely detected the energy of this decision psychically before the event has actually taken place.

Even predicting the outcome of sporting events and elections can be explained in this way. Most people have already made up their mind how they will vote well before they actually cast their ballot. Similarly, any number of factors can make a sporting team energetically weaker or stronger than their opposition, even in spite of their perceived form or recent record. If the margin is sufficiently strong, then the energetically stronger team is almost a dead certainty to win. Again, the outcome is still not fixed – but it would require a massive shift in the energy levels of the two teams for the outcome to change.

The third method of predicting the future is the method used by all genuinely skilled psychic practitioners. In order to understand it fully, you must have some basic grasp of the nature of the universal spirit. It is an infinite, impersonal, impartial energy that seeks nothing but the communication of itself in every-expanding and evolving forms of expression. Because it is infinite in every conceivable way, one can view it as already containing the potential outcome of every possible course of action within itself – or if you prefer, you can simply view it as infinitely intelligent and therefore able to calculate every possible outcome of every possible decision that anyone could ever make.

Since the second option is easier to get our heads around, let’s go with that.

Many of the greatest psychics in the world – if not all of them – attribute their sometimes startlingly accurate predictions to this characteristic of the Universal Spirit. A now forgotten and reputedly brilliant psychic Richard Ireland, who was once world famous, writes about it in his book Your Psychic Potential – A Guide to Psychic Development. Many others have written about it in Law of Attraction texts. The infinite intelligence of the universe knows exactly what is required to bring a set of circumstances into physical reality, even if it is required to draw the means from the ends of the earth. Ireland referred to the mental state where the infinite intelligence of the universe meets the psychic realm as ‘A-one-ness psi’. He writes:

“I have often referred to A-one-ness psi as the most reliable activity of the psychic because of its ability to deal effectively with totalities. It is concerned with the entire matrix of people, places and things that combine to create a complex event and not concerned with just an individual element of that event. The point I am leading to is that A-one-ness psi, with its comprehensive grasp of probabilities, is predominately precognitive. A-one-ness psi provides a projection of the future on the basis of existing probabilities. In arranging and assessing these probabilities it resembles a computer. In fact, a deeper understanding of A-one-ness psi can be gained by comparing its operation to that of an automatic data processor.”

In other words, the universe knows exactly what the results of every decision we make are likely to be, as well as all the flow-on effects and all the results of all the consequent decisions resulting from each choice we make. Like an infinite calculator, inconceivably more powerful than the combined processing power of every computer on earth, it can also predict our most probable response to various circumstances and stimuli – and thereby predict with tremendous accuracy an entire chain of events, sometimes stretching forward for years. However, like the methods used for forecasting weather, the further into the future the predictions are, the more variables come into play. This means that the accuracy of the predictions necessarily decreases as time goes on. But predictions made in this way tend to be unnervingly accurate when confined to the upcoming year or two, provided the psychic is sufficiently skilled. Once an event has been foreseen, it generally requires a dramatic change of tack for it to be altogether avoided.

It should be noted that the more we advance in consciousness, the more we move away from base, animalistic instincts and reactive decisions – and consequently, the less predictable our behaviours become. Otherwise imagine the sort of existence led by a Christ or a Buddha – such accurate, detailed powers of psychic perception as they must possess would render them mere automatons, doomed to act out the scripts they had foreseen for themselves.

But people who lack the higher intellectual and spiritual faculties can be predicted in some detail by the skilled psychic, even when placed in entirely hypothetical situations. For example, a skilled psychic could rapidly scan through the first year or so of a person’s career in a particular job, before they had even applied for that job. Such a psychic can even put two people together in a hypothetical marriage and visualise what this relationship would look like.

Spirituality never demands that we abandon rationality, nor submit ourselves blindly to a mystery. Even some of the most perplexing questions have a rational explanation, and I am forever being astonished by all the spiritual phenomena that once seemed an unfathomable mystery to me, which I now understand at least to the point where I am no longer gnawed at by impossible questions. Of course I am not so naive as to think that everything in the universe can be grasped by the rational mind, but there is still so much unnecessary mystery and confusion surrounding what are really quite basic, routine functions of the human soul – even though most people have not yet discovered them.

Our futures can be foreseen only to the extent that we allow our predictable animalistic natures to tie us down. The future is not fixed, and there is no such thing as fate or destiny, other than our shared destinies to become fully conscious, individualised forms of the Universal Spirit.

The best explanation of how the Law of Attraction actually works

Every spiritual school seems to have its own explanation of how the Law of Attraction actually works. Many of these are confusing and contradictory, and yet – as we shall see – many of them still work, because they correctly make use of certain principles, even though they seem to be mostly unaware of what those principles actually are.

I am here offering an explanation of the Law of Attraction that appears to tie all these schools of thought together, and cast a new light on things that will help us to understand the Law of Attraction in a different way. My primary source is, as usual, Thomas Troward – although I will also rely heavily on personal experience to extrapolate Troward’s teachings. I will begin by quoting from a remarkable chapter of Troward’s Edinburgh Lectures, where he delves into the two main aspects of the human mind – the subconscious and the conscious, or as he here calls them, the subjective and the objective.

From The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science, lecture 4:

A long series of careful experiments by highly trained observers, some of them men of worldwide reputation, has fully established certain remarkable differences between the action of the subjective and that of the objective mind which may be briefly stated as follows:

The subjective [subconscious] mind is only able to reason deductively, and not inductively, while the objective mind can do both. Deductive reasoning is the pure syllogism which shows why a third proposition must necessarily result if two others are assumed, but which does not help us to determine whether the two initial statements are true or not. To determine this is the province of inductive reasoning, which draws its conclusions from the observation of a series of facts…”

Innumerable experiments on persons in the hypnotic state have shown that the subjective mind is utterly incapable of making the selection and comparison which are necessary to the inductive process, but will accept any suggestion – however false – but having once accepted any suggestion, it is strictly logical in deducing the proper conclusions from it, and works out every suggestion to the minutest fraction of the results which flow from it. As a consequence of this it follows that the subjective mind is entirely under the control of the objective [conscious] mind. With the utmost fidelity it reproduces and works out to its final consequences whatever the objective mind impressed upon it; and the facts of hypnotism show that ideas can be impressed upon the subjective mind by the objective mind of another as well as by that of its own individuality…”

Under the control of the practised hypnotist the very personality of the subject becomes changed for the time being; he believes himself to be whatever the operator tells him he is: he is a swimmer breasting the waves, a bird flying in the air, a soldier in the tumult of battle, an Indian stealthily tracking his victim: in short, for the time being, he identifies himself with any personality that is impressed upon him by the will of the operator, and acts the part with inimitable accuracy.”

In summary, the conscious or objective mind possesses the faculty of inductive reasoning – or observing facts and determining truth from falsehood – while the subconscious or subjective mind only reasons deductively, which is the faculty of calculating what consequences follow when certain initial facts are assumed.

The subconscious mind is essentially our connection to the Universal, undifferentiated mind, or the mind of God. God does not deal in truths or falsehoods; God simply creates. If God decides that something is true, then it becomes true, and our subconscious minds operate in the same way. Hence, if the conscious mind is put to sleep via hypnotism and a sufficiently skilled hypnotist impresses a certain suggestion upon it, then the subconscious accepts that suggestion and works out the logical consequences of it. The subconscious mind does not evaluate the truth or falsehood of the suggestion; it simply responds by working out the conclusions that follow if the suggestion is true.

The subconscious mind has no ideas about itself and no concept of limitation. It conceives of itself as being precisely what is conveyed to it by external suggestion; typically the external suggestion of our conscious mind – this is how all visualisation and self-suggestion works. To take a common example, if you visualise yourself as a millionaire and feel the truth of it so palpably that it becomes real to you, then you are programming the subconscious mind just like the hypnotist who convinces his subject that he is a bird flying in the air. Once the subconscious has accepted the suggestion of the visualisation, it will manifest as a physical reality, provided that no stronger contrary suggestion is impressed upon the subconscious to undermine the initial suggestion.

And here is where most people fail in programming their subconscious. They allow external circumstances to program the subconscious with contrary suggestions to their visualisation. We see the destructive effects of contrary suggestions in the hypnosis example – when the hypnotised subject returns to his normal state, his conscious mind resumes its observation of facts, finds that the subject’s body is not covered in feathers, and the hypnotic spell quickly wears off due to the stronger contrary suggestion received from the observation of the senses and reasoning of the conscious mind. Similarly, if the would-be millionaire awakes from his visualisation and then proceeds pinching every penny as he previously did, his actions are impressing the idea of lack upon the subconscious. If he instead begins to spend as though money were no object then he is acting consistently with his visualisation. But if he spends in this way for a few weeks, fails to see results, and then panics, then he has undone all his good work and may in fact end up further back than where he started from, as his panic will form a powerful suggestion of lack that the subconscious will respond to.

Hence, most people simply do not have the consciousness required to successfully carry out such a spectacular manifestation, and so the Law of Attraction becomes like all other too-good-to-be-true schemes like foreign currency trading. In theory, it holds an easy solution to all of our problems. In reality, its tremendous simplicity can be supremely complicated to grasp.

But then, the Law of Attraction was never meant to be the saleable commodity it has become. Its enticing promises have invited exploitation from opportunists, who have often stripped out every other teaching of the spiritual life and focused solely on the promise of riches. But it was never meant to be taken out of the context of our wider spiritual development. It’s not a magical formula for getting stuff; rather the ability to use it is the natural consequence of an increase in spiritual understanding.

Yes, Christ said “ask and ye shall receive” – but he also said “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all other things shall be added unto you”. Not only will our spiritual powers naturally unfold as a result of our increased knowledge of the Universal Spirit, but our desires will begin falling into order, and we will discover that the legitimate use for all spiritual laws is doing good for others and evolving our souls. This does not mean we cannot ask for particular favours, monetary or otherwise – but they should fit into the grand scheme of our spiritual development, and not simply be directed towards creating a comfortable, luxurious life. And as our spiritual development unfolds, our consciousness increases – and in this higher state of consciousness, things tend to come to us without us even needing to ask.

With that said, we are certainly entitled to use our spiritual powers, provided that the end goal of our efforts is in conformity with the will of universal love. In Chapter 5 of the Edinburgh Lectures, Troward offers a suggestion as to how to overcome the negating effects of existing circumstances that we encountered earlier. He encourages us to reflect that there is a spiritual prototype of our completed goal that already exists on the metaphysical plane. As spirit has no concept of time, it follows that the spiritual prototype of our visualisation must exist as an already accomplished fact, here and now. By focusing on the existence of this spiritual prototype as an already accomplished fact, we are taking our attention away from external appearances and secondary causes, and focusing instead on first cause. By reversing our mode of thinking in this way and focusing on the originating principle rather than the secondary results that flow from it, our world will begin to change – just as a change in a shadow inevitably follows upon a change to the object that casts it. We need to view the spiritual world, where we are truly rich in every way, as the real world, and the physical world the mere reflection of it.

And despite the insistence of many Law of Attraction teachers, it is not strictly necessary to visualise anything. The advantages of visualising are that – if palpably felt – it conveys the truth of the visualised outcome very powerfully to the subconscious mind, and also helps us to get very clear with exactly what we are trying to manifest. But for those who struggle with visualising, it is possible to obtain results purely through the power of belief, as long as we hold fast to the belief and do not plant a contrary suggestion in our subconscious by entertaining doubts or acting as though the belief were not true. Explicitly religious people typically do not visualise; but many successfully manifest favours simply by their belief in the power of prayer. Christ said “Believing ye shall receive”, not “After visualising, ye shall receive”. In the end, belief is the funnel through which everything flows. Believe that an outcome will occur, and you are powerfully programming your subconscious to expect it. Believe that your methods are faulty, or you’re not skilled enough at them, or you took a crucial misstep, and you’re programming your subconscious for failure. Hence certain Law of Attraction teachers who prescribe specific methods as being absolutely necessary to the creative process sometimes set up unhelpful negative expectations in the minds of those who find their methods difficult to replicate.

Furthermore, many of the different schools seem to directly contradict each other on certain points. Most notably is the question of whether we should continue thinking about a goal after we have visualised it, or whether we should simply set the intention and then let it go. And here it is helpful to understand the principles behind the teaching, in order to decide which method is going to be most suitable for you.

Generally speaking, if you are good at visualising and able to form a vivid, believable, lifelike picture of your goal fulfilled, then you should visualise it once and then drop the matter. Your vivid mental picture will deeply impress upon your subconscious mind, and it will immediately go to work to bring the vision into physical manifestation. You should await the results with calm and confident expectancy; anything else that you add to it from that point onward is only likely to retard its progress. If you do use any other technique to keep your mind on track, such as Troward’s suggestion mentioned earlier, it should only be to chase away doubts, rather than to speed up the process or increase its effectiveness.

If you are unable to form vivid mental pictures, then your subconscious may require some additional programming. It will act upon whatever is impressed upon it the most vividly, and so if you are unable to do this with a mental picture, you can do it with frequent reminders of the goal, such as palm cards with your goals written them in present tense, or some other form of regular affirmations. The only drawback with this method is that you must be able to evoke the feeling of the wish fulfilled on cue – at least to some extent – and avoid any negativity concerning that subject. For example, it may be relatively easy to indulge in positive feelings concerning a romantic relationship; but for most people who don’t yet have such a relationship, this will also stir up feelings of loneliness and discouragement. It is also very important to avoid any sense of trying to hurry the speed of the manifestation by the use of these methods. The end game is to convince the subconscious that the goal has already been fulfilled by vividly conveying to it the feeling of the goal fulfilled. If we attempt to hurry it in any way then we are only impressing it with our own impatience. This is why, despite their potential, so many people find affirmations to be useless or even counterproductive.

My recommended method for those who cannot vividly visualise (and also for those who can – along with continuing their visualisation methods) is to use the principles of Emmett Fox’s The Golden Key. It’s a mere brief pamphlet – shorter than this article even – but its power has been proven by the thousands that have used it over the decades since it was first published.

The formula is simple: don’t think about the problem, but instead think about God. So if you are trying to manifest a relationship, rather than visualising your own perfect relationship, just know that it is all in God’s hands, and then meditate frequently on God’s love without any specific reference to your own loneliness, and without any specific expectations. Rather, maintain a confident expectancy in the ability and willingness of God to bring you all good things. If you are trying to manifest wealth, instead of visualising yourself swimming through a tank full of money, meditate frequently on the infinite abundance of God, and expect all good things to come to you. If you are trying to advance spiritually, meditate frequently on the infinite wisdom, goodness and intelligence of God, and know that all these things will come to you.

Fox prescribes this as a remedy for dissolving any difficulty, but it can be used as a means of attaining goals, too. If you feel the need to stick scrupulously to Fox’s original formula, then simply phrase the goal as a difficulty and ‘golden key’ it. If you are trying to manifest a relationship, ‘golden key’ your loneliness. If you are trying to manifest money, ‘golden key’ your lack. If you are trying to advance spiritually, ‘golden key’ your spiritual stagnation.  If you need further instructions on how to think about God, read Fox’s The Seven Main Aspects of God.

The beauty of Fox’s technique is that it works directly with belief in absolute spiritual principles, rather than concerning itself with evoking feelings or changing existing circumstances.  See, often by thinking about goals that are yet to be fulfilled, we activate old programming, old negative expectations, and past negative emotions. This is what Law of Attraction teacher Esther Hicks calls ‘blocked pipes’ – it’s negative energetic residue that can sabotage our attempts to feel positive about our goals. It’s much easier to program our subconscious to expect all manner of good things to come from the Universal Spirit, than to program ourselves for very specific things – especially when we have many blocked pipes. By powerfully affirming our belief in spiritual principles, we are raising our vibration and denying any additional energy to our existing unfavourable circumstances.

Don’t get me wrong – visualising and affirmations work well for many people. But Fox’s techniques work for everyone, when persisted in.  At the end of the day, we don’t even require a technique at all. Christ made the whole matter incredibly simple – according to him, it is all a matter of asking and believing:

Therefore I say unto you, all things whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive and they shall come unto you.” Mark 11:24.

Absolutely all works out for the greater good, in ways we cannot possibly forsee

This is the final part of a three part series discussing how the Universal Spirit brings things into physical manifestation by the path of least resistance. Part one and part two are here linked.

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.

How the Universe evolves the world using the path of least resistance

Last week I wrote about the common spiritual understanding that the Law of Attraction will always follow the path of least resistance to manifest ideas into reality. I then expanded on this concept and showed that the Universal Spirit uses the path of least resistance to slowly evolve our souls into the perfection that he envisaged for us from the beginning of time. In this second part of the article, I will examine how the Spirit uses the same path of least resistance to evolve the physical world as a whole.

As I explained last week, God’s grand plan of perfected humanity and a glorious perfected physical world are, of course, nothing but his own perfect visualisation gradually unfolding into physical manifestation. There is no reason at all to assume that this divine power of creative visualisation operates any differently when it is used on the individual scale or on the universal scale. It is precisely the same faculty operating on a vastly different scale – as, after all, we are made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, the creation of perfected human souls expressing the individualised glory of God, and the creation of a perfected world expressing the same both gradually unfold via the path of least resistance.

Once we understand this – and along with it, the impersonal indifference of God on the universal scale – it is impossible to view worldly circumstances as anything other than the slow but perfect unfolding of this grand plan. We are exactly where we ought to be at the present moment, and the world is exactly where it ought to be, also. A deep understanding of these truths will bring us peace and any worry or excitement about the state of the world will cease.

Worry or excitement about the state of the world are really just expressions of our own human preferences about how the world should be. Virtually since Jesus was crucified, Christians have been predicting that the end was nigh. And although New Thought, as a public and organised movement, goes back a far shorter period than dogmatic Christianity, New Thought writers have ever predicted that the Great Awakening was imminent.  Yet from the peak of the New Thought movement a century ago until now, society seems to have declined sharply in consciousness by most quantifiable measures – even the standard of spiritual thought seems to have taken a dive. Admittedly, even the early New Thought movement had its “get rich quick” set, who painted the Universe as nothing more than an infinite ATM – but intellectually solid, scholarly men like Thomas Troward also enjoyed a significant following, and true spiritual men like Joseph Benner were making an impact in their own way.

I can’t even begin to imagine how disheartened Troward would have been if he could’ve gazed into a crystal ball and seen the world that produced TikTok and Justin Bieber. He could only have wondered what on earth had gone wrong, and whatever happened to the glorious dawning of the New Age. And yet even in this disordered mess of a society, which at first glance appears to be crumbling into intellectual, spiritual and artistic ruin – many, many more people are getting a first taste of true spiritual principles than possibly ever before. So is it the great awakening, or is it the end times? Or are we simply witnessing a series of opposing trend forces, some of which are trending towards disintegration and others of which are slowly trending towards truth and consciousness?

We are witnessing the latter, and all of these trends are following the path of least resistance. It’s just like our example last week – the Universal Spirit guides an individual soul in its evolution by exploiting its weaknesses, waiting for the soul’s reaction after things become unbearable – relying on its hatred of suffering to ensure the soul claws its way out of the pit – then waiting for things to become unbearable again. Society is just a collection of individual souls, and so it works exactly the same way.

But of course, some people in society have more power than others, and therefore more influence over its direction. By the very nature of the case, the people who rise to positions of power tend to be in a relatively low state of evolution, where the lust for material and worldly gain are the first priority, and high-minded principles are a distant second, if they come into the equation at all. Being born into the right families and knowing the right people also helps a great deal to get along in this world, and it is a simple matter for the Spirit to ensure that only people at a worldly stage of evolution are born into these families.

The reason why the world must presently be governed by this class is because we have not yet evolved to a stage where it can be governed by a wise and benevolent power – the people simply would not co-operate with it. Witness the treatment of Jesus. Until we are at a point where we can consciously and fruitfully direct the evolution of the planet, we must be forcefully subject to the tides of the Universal Will, ever directing us on towards our perfection, and ever indifferent to the method employed.

The easiest way for the Universal Spirit to force society onward is to appeal to the base instincts of the worldly status seekers in positions of power. Hence, since the beginning of time virtually all political leaders with any significant influence in the world have been amoral kleptomaniacs, brazenly acting in self interest at all times and regarding the good of the people as a matter of secondary importance, at best. This has never been more obvious than at the present day, when governments all around the world are selling out their own countries to serve global financial interests, without a moment’s pause. In virtually all countries in the world, the betrayal of the citizens is now so thorough and egregious that politicians barely even maintain a facade of representing their own constituents.

Again, God is using their base instincts to lead the world in a certain direction – in this case, creating a global system which will in time be used to bring truth and freedom to the whole world. Whether we see this framework used for good within our own lifetime, or whether it takes centuries or millennia is none of our concern. It is all part of a Grand Plan that cannot fail – and whatever events take place within that Grand Plan – whether they be joys or sorrows – will be used to further our own soul’s evolution.

However, it cannot have failed to escape anyone with their eyes open that the pace of change seems to be rapidly accelerating, especially over the past two years. For the people in power, this appears to be a great tactical blunder, caused by their exponentially increasing greed and impatience. For it is true that they now have tighter controls over the population than ever before, but more people are awake to their true designs than ever, also. Hence, we see the first rays of light shining at the end of what perhaps may have looked like an endless tunnel of darkness. Again, it may be some time before any significant awakening occurs, but the mechanisms are clear. Presently, most people find that self-delusion and complacency are the paths of least resistance, but in the past two years, many complacent people have realised that it is more painful to continue to delude themselves than it is to admit the truth and begin to do something about it. For these people, self-honesty and action is now the path of least resistance. When the remainder of society decides the same thing, then change will come.

Yes, everything happening in the world, no matter how distasteful to human preferences it may seem, will eventually set in motion an opposite reaction that will change things for the better. Allow me to give a couple of random examples.

The sexual appetites of society used to be governed by religious dogma, and then later by societal conventions loosely based on these same dogmas. Thus, for most people the path of least resistance was to get married and live a respectable life – thereby enabling them to indulge their sexual appetites and remain in good standing with wider society. However, the sexual revolution in the mid 20th century changed all that, and made ungoverned sexual behaviour an acceptable fact of society. Without religious and societal expectations to govern people’s actions, the path of least resistance naturally became the path of indulgence. The result of this was that marriage and true love declined while divorce skyrocketed, as did STDs, unwanted pregnancies and shameless promiscuity. After high speed internet was invented, many people – mostly men – found themselves hopelessly addicted to porn and lacking motivation to form real relationships or do anything else with their lives, so all-consuming had the addiction become.

At this point, many men found that the path of indulgence had become too painful, and that the new path of least resistance was abstinence from pornography, since it seemed to carry with it many overall benefits to their lives. The number of abstainers may still be minuscule compared to the number of users, but it is significant, and growing. When such people learn to govern their sexual behaviour, they are doing so with a profound understanding of the reasons behind this self-restraint. Once this understanding becomes widespread, society as a whole will have a far greater reverence for sexual purity than blind obedience to a religious dogma could ever have taught it. Thus, the original descent into sexual anarchy was a stepping stone to society’s greater evolution.

Corporate greed gives us another great example of the shifting tide. Many large companies are now refusing to hire full time staff, preferring instead to use the services of contractors, as it absolves them of any legal obligation to provide benefits to their workforce, and makes cutbacks and layoffs much simpler. Many companies are even cutting back on office space to save on rent, and expecting staff to work from home on a regular basis. In the short term, this appears to be a gross infringement of worker’s rights, and work from home arrangements appear to be unhealthy, unnatural and potentially isolating.

For a great many people, being a wage slave to a corporation was the safest path to take in life – the path of least resistance.  But many contractors are now finding that is no longer the case, and as such they are beginning to awaken to the truth, which is that the corporations need them a lot more than they need the corporations. Many are beginning to see themselves as free agents, able to set their own conditions, and refusing to work with companies who cannot meet these conditions. Working from home has given them the first taste of flexible working arrangements, which can be beneficial to their mental health when proper precautions are taken and their social needs are met. Many are beginning to feel, for the first time, that they are not slaves to a corporation but businessmen, selling themselves as the product. This growing consciousness of their own power and worth will no doubt lead to even further circumventing of large corporations in the future. Thus, by following the path of least resistance – greed – these corporations have set trains of consequences in motion that will eventually bring their downfall.

I could go on and on with such examples, and probably will do so in a future article. But for the sake of brevity, I shall leave it at that and conclude with some comments about where we presently find society on the scale of consciousness, specifically the Hawkins scale of consciousness expounded in the book Power vs. Force.

Just as the evolution of a soul will always follow the path described by Hawkins’ scale, so will society follow the same course. The various levels below 200 on the scale are designated as “force”, or the stage where individuals are at the mercy of circumstances, and have not yet discovered their true inner power. On a societal level, this phase corresponds to all of human history up until this point. The majority of human history has been dominated by organised religion, and in a religious society, the path of least resistance is the path of obedience to dogma.

Christianity primarily used fear to control people’s behaviour. Of course there are many different levels of adherence to Christianity, and it would be unfair to deny that it inspired many into advanced spiritual states. But the predominant force that influenced most of its adherents was fear. Buddhism and Hinduism did the same in the east – inspiring many in total to great spiritual heights, and controlling the masses with superstitious threats about karmic consequences. After the wholesale abandonment of organised religion in the 20th century, we entered this brief, inevitable period of base indulgence, where sex, food and mindless entertainment seem to form the basis of most people’s happiness. But the resurgence of interest in New Thought principles in the last 20 years has shown that, as a society, we have evolved beyond that state. Most of us will not be content to derive meaning from base desires for very long. Most people are actually very unhappy living in this state, and many are seeking higher answers. For the first time in history, those answers are available.

Most will not seek the highest answers, as we are now only moving into the earliest stages of personal empowerment, where worldly achievements are the main goal.  But as people grow in power, their ascent up the scale of consciousness tends to accelerate, as powers add to powers and they begin to evolve more rapidly. Hence we have every reason to expect that the next phases of the world’s evolution will be more rapid than the first. But as we are perhaps only now breaking through the level of 200 – a process which will take some time in itself – be aware that we still have a long way to go before we even get to the intellectual level, or Reason, which begins at 400, let alone the advanced spiritual levels.

Many excited New Agers have already declared that the intellectual phase is over – it was tried during the Enlightenment phase, and was found wanting because it was not united to spirituality. But all true intellectualism is in harmony with spirituality, and any philosophical reasoning that denies spirituality or affirms the meaninglessness of life is a product of the levels below 200. The Enlightenment was an arrogant and vain intellectual movement that attempted to replace the laws of nature with laws of man’s own devising, instead of understanding and working with the natural order. No-one in the levels above 400 could have any possible use for it.

But wherever society happens to be on the scale of consciousness, let us always be at peace with what is happening in the world, even though many things may look dire to human preferences. No negative train of causation can remain long in the world before it generates a positive backlash, all leading us towards our destiny of a perfected society.

In next week’s article I will expand on this point, and show how living in a state of resignation can bring us peace.

How the Universe uses the path of least resistance to move us forward

The Universal Spirit – which is God in universal, non-limited form – is completely indifferent to the preferences of man. I’ve discussed it many times in previous articles, and shan’t repeat myself here. Its only “will”, or rather its very nature, is to communicate its life ever more abundantly and in more and greater forms. It is no respecter of persons nor of feelings – it will communicate its life in the easiest way possible, always through the path of least resistance.

In fact, the path of least resistance is the way everything comes into the physical universe.  One of the reasons why Law of Attraction teachers insist on visualising the specific details of the thing we want to manifest is because the Law, being indifferent to human preferences, also tends to take things rather literally. The classic example is that of the person that wants to lose 10 kilos but does not specifically visualise themselves with a slim body – focusing only on the loss of the weight – who then gets into an accident and loses 10 kilos worth of leg.

Whether this has ever actually happened or not, there is a truth behind it – the universe always carries out its designs by the path of least resistance. If you ask for money, it’s not going to manifest as a lottery win, because the odds against that are astronomical. It’s far more likely to come as a promotion, or a $50 note found on the ground, or some other small windfall. These are a mere trifle to the universe, whereas a lottery win would require the overcoming of tremendous levels of resistance – both within ourselves and also within the laws of mathematics – and such can only be manifested by someone with an extremely high level of consciousness. And a person in such a state of consciousness would be far beyond the temptations of money and the need to stockpile vast sums of it.

We’ve discussed in previous articles how the universe and humanity are really just manifestations of the thought of God. God, or the Universal Spirit, is the thinker, while we and the material universe are the thought. Just as the Spirit will use the path of least resistance to bring our own thoughts into concrete manifestation, it does the same with its own thoughts. Its grand thought for us and for the material universe is one of complete perfection, where everyone is a living representation of the perfection of God, but in individualised, limited form.

God does not care how we get there – he will use any circumstances available at that particular moment, whether good or bad to human preferences – to move us in the right direction. For example, souls in the lowest state of evolution are more inclined towards the basest fears and desires. Therefore, the Spirit will use threats against their safety and security as an incentive to move them towards developing these areas. The next temptation that comes into play in the course of a soul’s multi-lifetime evolution is the allure of base pleasures – primarily food and sex. Needles to say, dangling these two enticements in front of a soul to get it to move in a certain direction is likely to produce very little resistance.

Eventually though, the soul indulges in far more than its fair share of sensual gratification. It begins to feel the consequences of its decisions, which may come in the form of diseases caused by the overindlgence of the senses, or the boredom and ennui that always follows the excessive indulging of desires. The pain of this empty existence prompts the soul to seek something new, and typically it looks one step higher towards worldly achievements. Again, it may take several lifetimes to achieve – but eventually, after all the success has come and gone, the pain of remaining in an empty life of accolades and achievements becomes the path of greater resistance, and the soul seeks a way out. It does so through its mind – and hence it slips into the intellectual phase with very little resistance.

The intellectual phase is fraught with many potent dangers. Firstly, it’s not quite so obviously shallow and empty as the previous stages. Indeed, it may seem at first to be a worthwhile end in itself, since it is the highest level of man on the purely natural level, and developing the intellect is indeed one important aspect of our evolution. Secondly, it tends to produce pride and stubbornness, since the intellectual man – seeing apparent signs of stupidity all around him – is wont to consider himself at the highest end of human development.

In its more extreme stages, the intellectual phase may even deny spirituality altogether – leading to perhaps one of the darkest phases in a soul’s evolution. This is the phase where life seems utterly pointless and empty, but the soul now has the intellectual means to fully grasp the depth of its emptiness. At this point, many souls despair of finding meaning in the world. Many of them sink back into sensuality as a crutch, to deal with the pain of the emptiness. At this point of the soul’s career it may even sink into utter depravity, in a vain attempt to find some sort of liberation through the transcending of the human limitations of morality – hence the dissipation of intellectual libertines like the Marquis de Sade. Others seek to further intellectualise their misery to somehow make sense of it. Hence Schopenhauer and a million other gloomy peddlers of nonsense.

But eventually the dawn breaks. This miserable state of emptiness and arrogance becomes too painful to bear. Turning to God becomes the path of least resistance, and the soul cries out “God, rescue me from the prison of my own mind!” When the soul seeks earnestly, then the true spiritual nature awakens – the love nature.

The greater access to spiritual knowledge has led to an explosion of interest in the Law of Attraction and much other spiritual knowledge, most of it geared towards material gain and manifesting various exciting human experiences. That’s fine, as the worldly stage is one phase of the journey, and an inevitable one. The greater access to this knowledge will speed many souls on their journey through the material phase into the intellectual phase and then the spiritual phase. But do not mistake it for the ultimate aim of the spiritual life. The spiritual life is not about “abundance”. It is not about “manifesting your dream life” or “living whatever experiences you choose to create”. These are mere carrots on a stick, held out to us at a certain phase to move us along our inevitable journey.

If you instinctively feel that you are destined for something higher, and that riches and worldly gain cannot truly satisfy you, then please look beyond what the world is presently offering and seek the guidance of the true Teacher within.

In my next article, I will discuss how the Universal Spirit uses the path of least resistance to drive the state of the wider world.

In its proper place, the mind is not the enemy of spirituality

One of the great spiritual errors of this age, which has caused much confusion and spiritual blundering, is the idea that the mind is the enemy of spirituality. Like one of our other great errors, the spiritualisation of money, the demonisation of the mind is the result of a well-meaning but misguided rebellion against other errors of the past. In this case, the chief errors being rebelled against are the over-intellectualisation and dogmatisation of spirituality promoted by organised Christianity, as well as the modern ultra-rationalist denial of the spiritual realities back of the physical world.

It is absolutely true that the mind run rampant is an enemy to spiritual advancement. It is equally true that even the most advanced and spiritually inclined intellect will never progress beyond a certain point of evolution until it is prepared to quieten itself and listen for the inspirations that come from beyond the rational plane.

But like the rebellion against Christianity’s poverty fetish, the rebellion against the mind has led to an equal and opposite error, which is the idea that because all true spiritual inspirations come in the form of a feeling, therefore all feelings of a spiritual nature must be true inspirations, and any rational analysis of them is simply an attempt by the ego to stifle them. We are susceptible to be gravely misled spiritually unless we have the intellectual discernment to understand the difference between experiences and promptings that come from a higher source, and those that come from our fragile human emotions, or the anarchic world of the psychic plane.

Certainly, spontaneus spiritual awakenings do happen to people who have no intellectual bent whatsoever. However, we have no way of knowing what these people experienced in previous lifetimes. Perhaps they’ve done all their intellectual growth already and the Universal Spirit, knowing the intellectual phase is a barrier – and sometimes one that is difficult to transcend – reincarnated them as far away as possible from any intellectual temptations. This way, the evolutionary growth of their soul would remain, even if the counscious knowledge gained from the intellectual phase was lost at the moment of rebirth. This explains men like Sidney Banks, the uneducated Scottish welder who experienced a spontaneous spiritual awakening and spent the rest of his life attempting to convey his experience to others. Banks was forever urging his audience to go beyond his words and grasp the spiritual truth behind them, which he described as a feeling.

Nevertheless, Banks’ words helped many. Words, of course, are a product of the intellect. They are not the truth itself, but they can be an effective signpost towards the truth. Spiritual truth may be a feeling, but you cannot just take any old feeling and assume it to be truth. The mind is the signpost, or the compass, that points your feeling faculty in the right direction.

Most of modern popular spirituality is pure feeling, with little in the way of reason to guide it. The classic picture of such a state is the soul who is primarily concerned with the physical world, but who seeks worldly advantage or a lessening of suffering by carrying crystals as lucky charms, calling upon angels and guides, using tarot cards or visualising money. This is not to criticise any of these practices, as they may be entirely appropriate and useful at a particular stage of a soul’s journey. But they should not be regarded as superior to the intellect purely because they may superficially appear to be more spiritual. Some of these things work, either because the user’s belief coincidentally overlaps with the truth, or simply because the belief makes it true.

In David Hawkins’ book Power vs. Force, which is surely the closest thing we have to a scientific study of spiritual evolution, such rudimentary spiritual practices as these fall into the level of consciousness between 200 and 400. Souls at this level of evolution have clawed their way out of victimhood and submission to circumstances, and have begun their first tentative steps towards self-empowerment. But they do not yet possess a rational understanding of the workings of the universe, and settle for whatever beliefs or practices feel good to them. It is only at the level of 400 – designated by Hawkins as the level of Reason – that the soul moves beyond the superficial and pretty spiritual beliefs of the day and into the understanding of the laws that govern all these beliefs.

Some souls get carried away by this newfound intellectual power, and attempt to reverse-engineer spiritual abilities for personal gain through the use of formulas and specific energetic practices. Historically, this type of practice was called sorcery, magic or witchcraft. Other souls stuck in the intellectual phase have more benevolent intentions, but the mind refuses to let go and allow the profounder spiritual experiences that occur beyond the plane of the rational to take place.

The parable of the wedding feast, from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, instructs us on the necessity of unifying the different aspects of the human constitution – body, mind and soul.  In Chapter 10 of Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning by Thomas Troward, the author reads the parable as a warning against the purely intellectual use of spiritual forces for personal gain, without love as the guiding principle. My own understanding of this parable encompasses Troward’s but takes it further. The wedding feast is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, also referred to by Christ as the Kingdom of Heaven. A wedding feast takes place after a union, and nobody is invited to partake of the feast until the union is complete. If man has not wholly united the trinity of the human experience – body, mind and soul – then he does not possess a wedding garment and is not invited to the feast. The servants will bind him hand and foot and cast him into the exterior darkness. In Troward’s example, this binding of hand and foot represents the tremendous and dreadful karmic consequences resulting from the misuse of spiritual forces for personal gain. In this example, the mind is dominant and love, or the spiritual factor, is missing. As I have written previously, we simply cannot move into the higher spiritual realms until we proactively cultivate love.

In the opposite scenario, a person attempts to hijack the spiritual realm without first passing through the intellectual phase. If they make no tremendous effort then their beliefs will remain airy and they will not progress much in the spiritual life. However, some people take a more aggressive approach – and the most obvious example of this is the use of psychoactive drugs to induce spiritual experiences.

The spiritual lecturer Alan Watts characterised the typical mumblings of 60s LSD junkies describing their experience as “It was a gas, man.” As Watts pointed out, they were attempting to describe an experience to wider society, when they did not even fully comprehend the experience themselves – thus making themselves look like bumbling eccentrics to most ordinary people. Many people who had such experiences in the 60s found themselves ostracised by their experiences and drifted away from society, finding that it no longer made any sense of them – but sadly they lacked anything higher to cling to that might help to decode the experience and lead them on their upward journey. As a result, many of them lost all will for anything besides finding fellowship with other societal outcasts and taking more drugs. Hardly the road to enlightenment – and yet this is the best case scenario.

We’ve all heard the stories about people who used psychoactive drugs and ended up irreversibly psychotic, believing themselves to be God or Jesus. The drugs artificially induced a sensible experience of the person’s innate divinity, but the unfortunate soul could not understand that this divinity is in all, and that the ego must die to make room for the God within. Instead, its ego remained and became intoxicated with the idea that it is the one and only God, presiding above all.

The bible describes the three stages of spiritual development allegorically in Genesis, where Esau represents gross sensuousness, Jacob represents the intellectual phase, and then after wrestling with the angel, Jacob becomes Israel – the enlightened spiritual consciousness. I will return to this topic in future articles, but for the moment I recommend Chapters 9-11 of Jack Ensign Addington’s Hidden Mystery of the Bible, which delve into this topic in greater detail.

In order to ascend to great spiritual heights, one must fill the mind with wisdom, then move past it. It cannot be the ruling faculty of our lives, but it must always guide our ascent into the higher spiritual realms. In its proper place, the mind is our greatest ally in our forward evolutionary journey.

It will all be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not the end

One of the most important aspects of learning to spiritually manifest things into reality is learning to detach ourselves from any concern about the mechanism by which our desires will be brought into reality. We must live in the end, and know with confidence that our success is assured – and we do not concern ourselves whatsoever with the means by which the end will be fulfilled. The infinite intelligence of the universe will work things out, perhaps by the most unlooked-for series of events, and it is not our place to second guess infinite intelligence by prescribing what circumstances are necessary for the end to be fulfilled – instead we leave all of that to the Power that knows all.

Although we possess creative power in our thoughts, we too are creations – creations of the Universal Spirit, which used precisely the same process of manifestation to bring us into reality. In The Creative Process in the Individual, Thomas Troward explains that the Universal Spirit, being entirely nonphysical, has only one mode of operation – which is thought. Before the created universe came into being, there was absolutely nothing for the Spirit to contemplate other than itself. It could not manifest anything besides itself, simply because it could not think of anything that is not itself – for spirit, being infinite, is already everything. Therefore, we are the manifestation of the Universal Spirit’s contemplation of itself. Hence it is written that man is made “in the image and likeness of God”. We are microcosms of the Universal Spirit and possess precisely the same creative power.

Although we already exist as true physical beings, the Universal Spirit’s manifestation of us is by no means complete. It is impossible that the Spirit could contemplate itself as anything less than absolutely perfect; therefore the operation will only be complete once each and every human evolves into its perfected state. We are predestined to become God in individualised form, and all the Spirit’s dealings with us are ultimately geared towards that end.

So the process of our evolution is precisely the same process of manifestation known to us, except inverted. In this grand thought of God’s, the end is absolutely assured – humanity will become perfected; each one of us will become individualised representations of the perfection of God. And as God is the thinker of this grand thought, then the means by which it is accomplished is left entirely in our hands. To use an anthropomorphic term, God waits patiently for the full manifestation of his grand thought, and does not concern himself in the least with the means by which the thought is accomplished. The process of manifestation is identical, but the roles are reversed.

As I have discussed previously, Spirit in its universal form is infinite, and therefore completely indifferent to the means by which the thought is accomplished. Spirit is only capable of expressing a preference when it is in finite, individualised form. The infinitude of the Universal Spirit precludes any possibility of it expressing a preference for anything, because if it were to prefer one thing, it must necessarily not prefer another thing. As soon as we speak of the Universal Spirit as being not anything, we are placing a limitation upon the infinite.  The Universal Spirit’s only will is the inherent will of its nature. It wills – nay it must by its very nature – continue to ever increase its livingness, through eternal evolution. It created man – or itself in finite, individualised form – simply because it was the best way to further this evolution of the physical universe.

As individualised spirit, we have no choice as to whether we continue to evolve into perfection or not, for that is assured by the thought of God. But we can choose whether we do things the easy way or the hard way. God does not care about the means – that is entirely in our hands. We are “man the measurer” – created to be the decision making faculty of God, in order to futher the evolution of the whole and bring the glory of its completeness into concrete, manifested form.  Yes, the power of the Spirit is ours to use throughout our journey. If we ask its assistance, and believe with faith that we will receive it, then it will respond to our faith and assist us in any way that we ask. But it will not determine the means by which its grand thought is accomplished – we must do that ourselves, by making the first move.

By understanding this, we arrive at the conception of a God that is infinitely powerful, infinitely loving – for it does not stop loving itself simply because it has taken on individualed form – and cares deeply about our ultimate destiny, but does not care one whit about our temporal sufferings, unless we ask it to remedy them. For it knows that we are completely safe, and that all misfortunes and sufferings along the way to our eventual glorious end are of no more concern than a stubbed toe. It responds to our directing of its will, because we are its decision making faculty, but of itself it is indifferent to such trifles.  It knows more deeply than we can appreciate that the end is absolutely assured. What may seem like a disaster is nothing of the sort, and cannot of itself move the eternal indifference of its infinitude.  Only if we request and expect to receive divine assistance does it stir.

If we accept the principles of the creative process at all then we cannot entertain even the slightest fragment of a doubt that we will eventually reach the stage of perfected humanity, since the Universal Spirit cannot be conceived of as ever stopping short of its object.  Let us remember this and live our lives with full joy and confidence, knowing that absolutely everything works out in the end. And if we’ve been doing things the hard way instead of the easy way, be assured that this is not the Spirit’s will for us.  Again, it has no will at all about the means; that is merely the inevitable effect of the causes that we set in motion by our thoughts and actions. If you have lived a life of suffering, know that you are not cursed and it’s not karma – and you can begin today to set trains of causation in motion which will bring happier effects to you in their turn.

Nor should we take the state of the world to heart, or concern ourselves too deeply with its future. By setting a positive example in our circle of influence, we are doing our part in the great plan. Do not let it trouble you when others around you or people in power fall short, or even act in overtly evil ways. The Universal Spirit will even use the corruption, greed and wickedness of men to shape the world for the better. Do not be so swept up in the individualism and human-worship of the modern world that we forget who is really in charge. To worry or to concern ourselves is absurd – the Universal Mind can never fail to bring its grand thought into reality, for us and for the world.

Why don’t we clear trapped emotions between lifetimes?

One of the questions that seems to come up frequently when clearing emotional energies with Soul Lab is why we don’t simply clear all these energies between lifetimes, when we get to ‘heaven’, or ‘our true home’, or whatever we choose to call the home base from whence we came, where all suffering ends and all truth is laid bare before our eyes.

Many of the stuck emotions cleared during Soul Lab sessions are either from previous lifetimes, or seemingly from the spaces in between lifetimes. What’s up with that? If there really is a heaven to speak of, where the veil is lifted and we perceive all truth, why would we choose not to wipe our slate clean and rid ourselves of all stuck emotional energies during those intervals? And how, praytell, could we accumulate more stuck emotions during those intervals?

The answer is quite simple and logical, but it requires a shift in thinking away from the pretty picture of a ‘heavenly home where the veil is lifted.’ If you are determined to maintain that belief, you may wish to stop reading this article now, as you will agree with nothing of what is to follow.

As usual, my answer is not based on insights or revelations, but purely on philosophical reasoning guided by logic, and my primary philosophical source is the brilliant early 20th century spiritual writer and philosopher, Thomas Troward. In order to avoid needlessly repeating myself, please permit me the indulgence of quoting from myself – in this case, from my article on why God allows suffering and evil:

“We must firstly understand the true nature of God in order to understand man’s place in creation. Troward explains that God or the ‘Universal Spirit’ is not only infinite, but entirely impersonal and undifferentiated. It is infinitely intelligent, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving and so on – but it is without any personal volition of its own. Because it is life in itself, it seeks only one thing – the communicating and increasing of that life. This is in its very nature, but to attribute any other specific motives to it would be to place a limitation upon the limitless. We cannot therefore talk about ‘God’s will’ in any manner other than the communication of itself in new forms of life, and the eternal evolution of that life. The Universal Spirit cannot be said to make decisions in its infinite form, because to prefer one course of action would mean that it must repudiate the opposite course of action. Doing so would lead us to the conclusion that God prefers one thing to another – this would, of course, be placing a limitation on the infinite because if God prefers A, then God is not someone who prefers B. Anything which is limited in any way cannot be infinite, therefore the Universal, unmanifested Spirit cannot be partial in any of its dealings.”

As I explain in the article, man is “the measurer”, or the decision-making faculty of God. In its undifferentiated, absolute form, the Universal Spirit cannot make such decisions or prefer a specific course of action; therefore it re-creates itself in individualised form on the plane of the particular, instead of the plane of the absolute. It does this through a long series of incarnations, first through the animal kingdom, and then through the various stages of human evolution, until it gets to the point where its spiritual understanding allows it to recognise itself dwelling within its own creation. At no point throughout this evolutionary process does the created expression of God in individual physical form withdraw itself from the plane of the particular and retreat back into the plane of the absolute. In other words, the veil is not lifted between our physical incarnations on Earth. We don’t go back to our heavenly home, because there is nowhere to go to, unless we were to cease to exist in our individual, created forms and return to the absolute, uncreated state.

We don’t choose to incarnate here, either – at least, our individual, created form does not make that decision. That is a pretty delusion of the egocentric, individualistic society that we live in, which repudiates any concept of being under the authority of a higher spiritual power.  We simply continue the slow, automatic evolutionary process through various incarnations – directed by the relentlessly indifferent Universal Mind, which cares for nothing but our forward momentum. If we suffer or thrive in a particular incarnation, it doesn’t care one bit. Whether we are poor or rich, ugly or beautiful means not a thing to it. If we suffer the effects of stuck emotions, or of disease, or of negative thinking – none of this concerns it in the least. The only thing that matters is that we evolve. How we get there, or whether the journey is difficult or easy is completely beyond the considerations of an infinite, life-giving intelligence. It will repeatedly incarnate us wherever will best serve our soul’s evolution, until we arrive at the point where we recognise our own power within, and are no longer carried away by this indifferent evolutionary tide. At this point we dig our oars into the water and begin to determine our own direction through the infinitude of evolutionary possibilities.

What does this mean? Do we ever get to a heavenly place? Of course we do – in fact, Christ tells us that “the kingdom of heaven is within you”. What may at first appear to be an enigmatic statement is actually very plain indeed. The ecstasies accompanying advanced spiritual states are truly so profound that they far eclipse any conceivable joys of the purely physical world. It is therefore completely unnecessary and also erroneous to imagine some sort of spiritual city in the sky where we retreat at the completion of our life’s work. We reach heaven when we reach an advanced spiritual state. Furthermore, the spiritual knowledge accompanying this state enables us to escape the Universal Spirit’s automatic process of rebirth and proceed to other, greater things beyond the Earth plane. It is useless to speculate about what these things are, but I agree with Troward that one thing is absolutely certain: we do not go through this vast evolutionary journey just to end up back where we started.

We will continue the endless evolutionary journey into infinity, but we will never be permanently reabsorbed into the undifferentiated spirit. Otherwise what was the point of the journey? Did we go through all the sufferings, trials and struggles just to play some pointless game of cosmic hide-and-seek, or to go on a spiritual holiday, as I have heard some spiritual pundits seriously suggest?

No, we evolved into individual form to become the decision-making faculty of the Universal Spirit. We became limited in order to direct its expression into untold, unheard of new realms, and to stand apart from the glory of the uncreated infinite so that we can look back and gaze upon it in awe.

The Law of Attraction does not work… but here’s what does

Many frustrated would-be millionaires will sympathise with the title of this article. And I mean it.  The Law of Attraction – when viewed in the way that modern popular spiritual teaching portrays it – simply does not work for the vast majority of people. The flaw of the premise is inherent in the very phrase ‘Law of attraction’. It implies that you’re trying to bring something in which you do not already possess. Taking this attitude creates an energetic gulf between your current ‘not-havingness’ and the thing you’re attempting to bring into your life, and creates resistant energy as your frustrated desires intensify.

The spiritual world is a complex, intricate piece of machinery, and its correct operation requires a profound change in our entire method of living. We must become something new spiritually, before we can expect the material side of life to catch up with our new identity. Expecting to remain precisely who we are while exploiting one of the laws of the spiritual realm for material gain is like attempting to grab hold of one of the cogs of the machine and use force of strength to manually grind it into motion. It inverts the natural operation of the machine and causes exertion and exhaustion. Exhaustion creates resistant energy which limits our results, and also means that our attempts are limited by our willpower.

Instead of trying to sneakily manipulate the universe into doing our bidding, what we need to do is gradually wake up to our true nature, and the true purpose of that nature. We are an instrument of the Universal Spirit – in a reciprocal relationship with it – created to give particular, individual expression to the beauty and glory of the Uncreated Formless. Our reciprocal relationship means that, on one hand, we are “man the measurer” – a phrase coined by Thomas Troward – the purpose of which is to direct the will of the Universal Spirit through the agency of our own individual will. And on the other hand, we are the vulnerable half of the shepherd-and-sheep relationship so frequently alluded to in the bible.  As the measurer, we lead the Universal Spirit by differentiating and distributing its infinite, formless energy.  As the sheep, we receive inspiration and guidance from the shepherd as to how best use that energy to bring the glory of the Infinite Formless into solid form.

As man the measurer, we choose what we wish to do and create in life, and this becomes a unique expression of the absolute in particular form. The Universal Spirit guides us towards the correct application of this will, and arranges guidance and circumstances to enable to fulfilment of such expression in the highest and best possible way for its own expression of itself. By allowing the fullest and highest expression of the Universal to unfold in us, our own personal evolution is furthered in the highest and best way.

This is the true purpose of life – to reproduce the glory of the Unmanifested in manifested form. Any spiritual teaching that loses sight of this is not an accurate representation of spiritual truth. Any spiritual teaching that reduces the entire spiritual plan to a mechanical formula for material gain has utterly perverted spiritual truth.  It’s sad to say, but how often is this even mentioned in popular spiritual teaching?  Sure, go to a traditional yoga or meditation class and you‘ll have a chance of hearing it, as long as it’s not one of those despiritualised and sanitised gym classes.  But how often do you hear it on YouTube, or Oprah, or any popular outlet for new age spirituality?  Such outlets are dominated by people who think you‘re a spiritual failure if you don‘t have a Lamborghini parked in the driveway.  On YouTube especially, the phrase ‘Law of Attraction’ generates 10 times the clicks of anything else.  Material gain is far and away the most saleable aspect of spiritual growth, even though the neverending plea of true spirituality throughout the ages has been that the material world is worthless next to the spiritual.

Still, these laws do work purely for self-advancement and in complete independence of any deeper spiritual understanding, if you’re one of the very few people who can maintain the exact mental sweet spot required to gain results.  But it’s highly unwise to do so.  In the parable of the wedding feast from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, Troward sees a specific warning against those who would try to use spiritual truths as though they were nothing but physical laws to be manipulated.  From chapter 10 of Troward’s Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning:

“The same idea is repeated in the parable of the man who contrived to get into the wedding feast without the wedding garment. The Divine Marriage is the attainment by the individual mind of conscious union with the Universal Mind or ‘the Spirit’; and the feast, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, signifies the joy which results from the attainment of Perfect Liberty, which means power over all the resources of the universe, whether within us or around us.

Now, as I have already pointed out, the only way in which this power can be used safely and profitably is through that recognition of its Source, which makes it in all points subservient to the Law of Love, and this was precisely what the intruder did not realise. He is the type of the man who fails in exactly the opposite way to the servant who buries his Lord’s talent in the earth. This man has cultivated his powers to the uttermost, and so is able to enter along with the other guests. He has attained that Knowledge of the Laws of the spiritual side of Nature which gives him a place at that Table of the Lord, which is the storehouse of the Infinite; but he has missed the essential point of all his Knowledge, the recognition that the Law of Power is one with the Law of Love, and so, desiring to separate the Divine Power from the Divine Love, and to grasp the one while rejecting the other, he finds that the very Laws of which he has made himself master, by his knowledge, overwhelm him with their own tremendousness, and by their reflex action become the servants who bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness. The Divine Power can never be separated with impunity from the Divine Love and Guidance.”