By the twin virtues of repentance and praise, the developing human spirit is made receptive to the
Divine Life Force, and is described as being enveloped in it. This is apparently a reference to mystical initiation –
for the first time, the spirit consciously comes into the presence of God; it learns to know Him. And again by continuing
to follow his conscience, whereby God constantly “goads” him to do right he comes to abide continuously in God
- a state which St Teresa calls the Seventh Mansion.
To such a person nothing physical matters to them any more. We are told that “Possessions give
way in importance to ideals”, but the second part of the phrase is equally important. Possessions are not to be abandoned,
but neither are they to be uses for selfish ends. They must be dedicated to the Service of God and used therein. As a result,
“the desire to acquire
physical possessions gives way to an urge towards spiritual acquisitions”.
Spirituality this urge continues to develop, but
this does not mean that emotions are destroyed - rather they are directed towards God instead of towards physical things.
Ultimately we progress beyond the mortal stage, when we no longer have the need for a physical body. This, as we are told
in Ecclesiastes; “returns to the dust as it was”. But here the process of achieving the end of our earthly journey
is described in more detail.
After a time the Astral body also fades away, which,
as we know happens after every incarnation, when we are ready to pass on to the Spirit Plane, but then we are told that eventually
even Spirit Body gives way to the Divine Spark. This does not happen after every incarnation. Normally our time on the Spirit
Plane comes to an end before the Spirit Body or Spirit Form, fails, and the Divine Spark returns to earth life in another
physical body. However, when this is no longer needful, the Divine Spark is able to shed that very last vestige of earth,
the earthly form that the spirit still retains on the Spirit or Form Plane Spirit.
Freed from that last earthly encumbrance, the newly
perfected human spirit shine forth in all the newly perfected radiance of its Eternal Essence, which is the Divine Spark within
it. Not that it has lost its earthly knowledge and experience – far from it, for it not only retains the essential essence
of all the “physical, emotional and mental experiences” of its last incarnation, it has also re-gathered all the
knowledge of its past lives as it enters the realms of the Saints. But even then it is far from perfect, and it is only as
it “wings its way towards God at the Highest Level of Consciousness” that it will become yet further enhanced
in the Higher Angelic Realms.
To sum up; the human spirit “has trodden the
Path of Possessions and found it wanting, but by the Appointed Path for Man it has found the way back to God”.
last section of CHAPTER ONE could perhaps have been placed in a chapter of its own, for it seems to jump away from the brief
but eloquent description of the journey of the human spirit back to God and begins to deal with some of the problems that
beset such a spirit when it starts to assay the Path.
Verse 15 simply tells us that “The Spiritual body is completely covered by the Psychic” but this has a number of meanings.
Firstly, of course it can be seen as a reference to the various envelopes in which the Divine Spark is enclosed (Spirit Body, then Astral or Psychic Body and finally the Physical Body) but it also has a second and deeper meaning.
When one first begins to tread the mystic path, one is usually fairly psychic and often this means that one “sees”
things that one does not understand, such as auras and thought-forms.
It is this second meaning that is reflected in the next verse. Many people regard such psychic phenomena
as “all there is”, pursue psychic abilities and become “intoxicated” thereby. This, however, is a
digression from the Mystic Path and those who do so, will often thereby be prevented from further advances on the Mystic Path
for many lives. In other words, their contact with higher realms is blocked by their pre-occupation with more easily-seen
Astral world. Subconsciously realizing this, the spirit of those who succumb to it becomes both “sorrowful and fearful”.
Sorrowful because it realises it has lost something, although they may not know exactly what, and fearful, both of the possible
consequences of that loss and of the often imperfectly understood things that it perceives through its psychic abilities.
This fear, we are told “is exactly like a fire that spreads destruction” – in other word, like all fears
it quickly destroys that which is of spiritual value. Unless this can be cured it will not succeed in this life, and will
have to come again in a physical body without either psychic or mystic propensities and begin the mystic quest all over again
The prescribed remedy is a well-tried one. We must stop thinking about the problem and concentrate
on doing something else and the “hard, unremitting work” that is recommended is best satisfied by ordinary physical
labour. Whilst this may be resented by such an evolved spirit which thinks itself above such things, being forced to concentrate
on the purely physical may well be the only way for it to stop thinking about the psychic world. If it can do this then God
may be yet be able to set it back on the right path in this incarnation.
This will result in it achieving perfection and here for the first time we have the simile that has
been used so often by later mystics, such as the Biblical prophet Malachi (Malachi
3; 17) and John Ward himself, (4th Apocalypse 2; 11) The “perfected
human spirit” is called a “precious stone of joy”, clearly referring both to the joy of the Father in receiving
His child back home and also to the joy of the child. Note, however, that we are also told why it is “precious”
- it is because “of the purging it has received in the fire of mortal life”. Thus it can also be described as
“pure gold”, purged of the impurities that hitherto had bound it to earthly life.