In Chapter Seven
we take a more detailed look at the forces at war within the Believer and which can be loosely categorised as either helping
his spiritual progress or as tending to drag him back to the material world. These
are seen as his Higher and Lower Selves, respectively, but in the battle within, it is not a case of the Higher Self needing
to overcome the Lower, as some have claimed, rather it needs to sanctify it, so that in the end, the whole man – both
Higher and Lower natures, can achieve perfection.
The Final Testing: Teaching Others
One with faith has
happiness, because the beauties of heaven are his, as he dwells in God, mentally focused on the white and shining glory of
Yet still his Lower
Self, lies in wait for an opportunity to deceive his better nature.
The Lower Self celebrates
the fountain (of life) but dreads its fragrance, for his strength is broken in pieces and he is mocked and fettered by its
The Higher Self of the Son of Faith is raised to the heights of glory and dwells in God, but
the pride of his Lower Self lies in wait to ensnare him.
5. The Lower Self of the Son
of Faith lies in wait in the plains of material existence, whilst the Higher Self is elevated which humiliates the Lower Self
of the son of faith.
6. The Lower Self whom God
calls is afflicted, but it is appointed of God that the Man of Faith shall bring forth fruit.
7. The Higher Self is raised
up and his glorious soul laughs.
8. Healed of the desire for
material things, he shines in higher realms of which he bears fruitful testimony.
9. Strife wearies the Higher
Self and deceives the human soul lest it rise up with zeal to dwell in God.
10. The Higher Self is deceived if it follows material
things and joins itself to them instead of staying apart from them.
11. The spiritual man has vision.
12. Because he hears and obeys the Lord he is joined
to Him in praise.
13. Such praise brings its own reward to those who abide in his dwelling.
14. The Lord shall increase his happiness, for his right judgment, will make him a defender in the battles of God.
15. His lot leads him straight to happiness.
16. The spiritual man though weary has a vision because
he is able to listen to God and is attached to spiritual things.
17. He worships God and this brings rewards to his own
soul and also to those who follow him.
18. These will increase in numbers, because of his goodness
19. He judges aright as he struggles to work for God
and so extracts the best from the bitterness of life by following the path that leads straight to the spiritual heights.
20. Such a spiritual man will have happiness and
find strength in the company of many other happy men of faith
Perhaps the most important way of achieving this apparent impossibility lies in the training of others, hence before
any spirit can reach the end of the Path, they must spend at least some time in helping others to tread it and this subject,
too, is introduced in this chapter.
It is important to realise
that one of the most basic tests to see if someone has real belief is their happiness or otherwise.
Many people claim to have faith but do not, whilst others belittle their values, yet have
more genuine belief, that most. “One with faith has happiness” we are told, “because the beauties of heaven are his, as he dwells in God, mentally focused on the white and shining glory of
The mere fact of focusing one’s mind on the glory and beauty of God, will produce
within us an almost uninterrupted feeling of peace and serenity, far more lasting than any of the transient forms of worldly
This, however, does not mean that the Lower
Self is completely converted and it can perhaps be represented as a beast of prey lying “in wait for an opportunity
to deceive his better nature.”
The Lower Self rejoices in the power of God, but at the same time it is afraid of what
it may do to his worldly values.
These can be shattered if the Divine Life Force is showered down upon it continuously,
through such spiritual exercises as prayer, meditation and worship. At one and the same time, the Lower self is “mocked
and fettered by its beauty”.
Thus the Believer is in two minds. His Higher Self “is raised to the heights of glory”
because of his links with God.
At times he may feel almost as if he is in Heaven already, but then something comes along to shatter this illusion, and it is usually linked with the pride of his Lower
Self”, which like the wild beast that; “lies in wait to ensnare him”.
And just where does this beast of prey lie in wait?
It is just where we
should expect it to be – “in the plains of material existence”, for it is usually through
some worldly contact or temptation that we are most likely to be led astray.
Furthermore, the mere fact of the Higher
Self having feelings of spiritual joy, “humiliates the Lower Self” and thus, all to often increases its resentment
and antagonism until at times the battle within almost make us seem like a man suffering from schizophrenia.
It is the Lower Self that is the primary victim
in all this confusion. It knows that God has called it but it does not want to follow that call.
It hesitates, torn between its own desires and
the wishes of the Higher Self, which seeks to serve God. However, seeing God has ordained that the Believer “shall bring
forth fruit”, eventually he does so.
The Higher Self, at last allowed to follow its
true destiny finds itself “raised up” – in other words, it assails the heights of mysticism, and the Believer
approaches ever closer to perfection. Then we read that “his glorious soul laughs”.
This is a laugh of sheer pleasure; of spiritual
joy bubbling forth amidst the desolation of mortal life, but the phrase also indicates that by this time his spirituality
been “glorified” and shines forth in spiritual brilliance. He has been “healed of the desire for material
things’ and “he shines in the higher realms of which he bears fruitful testimony”.
We can understand the fact that his spirit form
shines brightly in the Spirit Plane, but this passage also refers to the fact that he is able to bring back the knowledge
of these planes to his fellows on earth and the fact that his testimony is said to be “fruitful”.
Clearly this refers to his being able to function on the
Astral or Spirit Planes whilst asleep, and being able to bring back reports of life there to his fellows on earth. Back
on earth, however, the Believer still has to face the struggles of mortal life, and this “strife wearies
the Higher Self and deceives the human soul”, thereby making it harder for it to “rise up with zeal to dwell in
this sort of pressure, the Higher Self may well be led astray, taking an increasing interest in material things and eventually
allowing them to become the most important aspect of its life instead of concentrating on the spiritual and keeping itself
apart from the taint of material desires.
The spiritual man has vision – that is the
ability to perceived spiritual things. The reason for this is his personal relationship with God, but it
is also because he obeys what he believes God tells him and continually “praises” Him – that is to say,
he does his best to glorify God by doing His Work. If one hears the voice of God and does not obey Him, then obviously there will come a time
when we are unable to hear Him.
This “praise” – working for God
– brings its own reward in peace of mind and spiritual happiness – the natural result of dwelling with God and
this happiness will only increase as his contact with God is enhanced thereby. Increasingly he will know what is right and be given the strength
to do it, thus making “him a defender in the battles of God.” (defending God’s purpose on earth). The karmic result of such loyal service is more happiness, or as we
are “his lot (allotted karma) leads him straight to happiness.
The stresses and strains of life on earth often weary the spiritual man, not just physically, but also
spiritually. Even if he is not actually a mystic who can hear the voice of God, his conscience always lets him know what is
God’s will whilst he is constantly desirous of doing it.
Nevertheless he finds himself constantly frustrated in his efforts to do so by the circumstances of
his mortal life. As a result, both physical and spiritual weariness constantly afflicts him, but despite this, he still retains
“vision” the ability to know God’s will and often even to hear Him. In fact this “Vision” is itself the direct result of his attachment to spiritual things – in other
words, it develops therefrom.
He worships God, both literally and figuratively and this provides him with many blessings, not only
for himself but also for those who follow him – and this is a key point, for by this time in his spiritual development
there will be many younger souls who hang on his words and follow his example.
This does not necessarily mean that he becomes the Founder of a new religious
movement or institutes some great religious reform, though many of those who have done such things have indeed been close
to the ends of their earthly journeyings, whether or not they have been recognised as “Saints” by their followers.
What it does mean is that once his example and teachings begin to lead others to follow him, their numbers will grow
as long as he continues to exhibit both goodness and compassion. The first may seem to be obvious, but the latter is at least
equally important, for many good men have little compassion for those who are unable to live up to their own high standards,
and it behoves a religious leader, not only to set a good example, but also to help others to do so.
As a leader, he will often have to render judgement or mediate disputes between those who respect him, and again it
is important that He makes these decisions in the Right spirit. This does not necessarily mean that he must never make mistakes,
but if mistakes are made, it is important that they be honest ones.
We are also told that Right motives will enable him to “extract the best from the bitterness of life”, for
this Path “leads straight to the spiritual heights” Working for God is always a struggle, but as long as one persists,
God will be satisfied, though more often than not, the world will not regard such a man as successful.
whether or not he is successful in the eyes of the world, we are told that “such a spiritual man will have happiness
and find strength in the company of many other happy men of faith”.
words, he will find great comfort in the support of his followers, whether or not there are many of them and whether or not
the world recognizes his efforts.
The same word is used in 1 Samuel 3; 1b “And the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision” - in other words,
there was no frequent mystical contact with God
as in all things provides us with an example; perfect in Himself, yet He nevertheless extended both understanding and compassion
to sinners (e.g. St John 8; 11)
The Ancient Wisdom for Modern Man