Looking back at the past
At the end of each year, the media devote extensive attention to the highlights in the news of the previous year. In words and images we are taken back to forgotten past events and say: “Oh yes, it’s true … I forgot.”
For a moment our senses – the gates to our consciousness – are open to that which has passed. The desire to look back is not the same for everyone, but one could say that reminiscing in itself is a method of cleansing that can bring closure to the past and may herald a new beginning.
Looking back at the world news may contribute to an awareness that this world of delusion does not correspond to the world that we carry in our inner minds. Obviously, concerning the inner path we should not become otherworldly; rather it is quite to the contrary.
We, human beings, were even born into this world in order to experience life on earth and to discover that ‘this is not it’, so that we would go the path of return by our own volition. As soon as we realize our duality and our separateness from the Light, we discover more and more clearly that there are many forces working to impede our return journey.
Too much ruminating about the past is one of them, but at the same time the phrase “he who does not want to learn from the past, will be punished in the future” has validity.
The information that reaches humanity in all its forms through the mass media, is another example. It is King Herod in a modern shape. The sages of Zoan teach us: if we are to be liberated from the illusion of this world, then we must turn our gaze inward.
For what would it add to the accomplishment of our inner assignment if we allow ourselves to be consumed with the intolerable suffering of millions of people and animals, which we cannot possibly prevent, or by the emotions of others in the face of which we are likewise powerless?
No human being in whom the new soul is born, can be indifferent to the suffering of this world. The union of the soul with all living beings, causes the soul to suffer with them. That is the nature of the soul: it cannot do otherwise. But for the outer human being on the path the situation is different.
By nature he is a self-maintainer, one who actually does not want to have anything to do with this unity and is naturally directed toward self-preservation. That is why the inner and the outer man are so often standing opposed to each other, both heading in different directions. And yet it is the outward human being who must learn to accept the leadership of the soul and become a disciple of the soul.
It is true that everything grows when we focus our attention on it. What does not receive attention, will fade. If we want the soul within us to grow, then we should turn our attention to it.
That means the outer human being should as much as possible try to avoid connecting himself through the senses with things that ‘drag’ the soul down.
In particular, these are the emotions that stir the heart and cause it to lose its direction. The soul is connected with everything, because it is one with everything.
Following the spiritual path demands a conscious cooperation and progressive purification. Therefore, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and the young John and Jesus are instructed in the mystery school of Elihu (meaning ‘Yahweh is God’) and Salome (meaning ‘peace of Zion’).
How could it be otherwise? Life on earth was our initiator and teacher until the birth of John. And another stage is entered at the moment Jesus is born. At that point there are new lessons to learn.
A new inner covenant has been made between the higher and the lower human being, now following the path together. This path leads to the highest possible covenant: the covenant with Jesus, with the Christ, for which John as the precursor dedicates his life in complete servitude.
Step by step, the inner and the outer man are both guided on their way. Little by little, through insight and inner instruction, they are driven forward on their common path in mutual dependence.
Throughout time there have been Mystery schools formed for the purpose of teaching both the lower and the higher human being to be able to follow such a special twofold path, and to support them in their task. Otherwise how would a mortal human being be able to understand the high assignment of the Other-One-within and be of service to him?
People cannot see the world of the soul with their physical eyes; neither are they able to understand it with their intellectual capabilities. The personality will never be able to comply with the high laws of the soul – it is simply not his life. At best the personality can strive with all its efforts to lessen the gap between itself and the life-of-the-soul.
Spirit, soul and personality
It is part of the Divine Plan that the personality will increasingly live by the forces of the soul in order to enable it to live by and through the Spirit. In this way the human being forges the three revelations within himself into a unity: spirit, soul and personality.
The spirit, soul and personality of man correspond with the Trinity of Christianity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Comparable triads occur in other world religions as well. For instance, in Hinduism there are the three main gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The heart of Buddhism is the ‘three jewels’ of the Buddha, dharma and sangha.
It is important, however, to realize that the various triads are not always interchangeable, because they originated from different ideas.
In chapter 9 of The Aquarian Gospel Salome broadly discusses the divine process of creation that took place and is still taking place, even beyond time:
Before the worlds were formed all things were One; just Spirit, Universal Breath. And Spirit breathed, and that which was not manifest became the Fire and Thought of Heaven, the Father-God, the Mother-God.
And when the Fire and Thought of heaven in union breathed, their son, their only son, was born. This son is Love whom men have called the Christ. Men call the Thought of heaven the Holy Breath. And when the Triune God breathed forth, lo, seven Spirits stood before the throne. These are Elohim, creative spirits of the universe. And these are they who said, Let us make man; and in their image man was made.
The genesis of man
The ancient knowledge about the genesis of man has been extensively described for our modern times by authors such as Helena Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner and Max Heindel. All three distinguish seven eras, each era consisting of seven distinct phases which in turn are subdivided into seven stages.
For the human being on the spiritual path such a ‘retrospective’ has an important meaning for it is related to three fundamental questions: who am I, where do I come from and where am I going. As it is stated in the classical Chinese teachings of the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu: “He who knows the beginning of the Original has the thread of Tao in his hands.”
That is why Elihu and Salome speak about the ancient wisdom schools and religions in China, Chaldea, Egypt, Persia and India. The universal teachings of wisdom took shape in spiritual traditions that were adapted to the consciousness and the assignment of humanity in those particular time periods and earth regions.
All spiritual traditions wither, just as do all high civilisations. They are usually corrupted from the inside due to gradually diminishing attention to the inner aspect. The inspiring force loses its focus and slowly ebbs away.
What remains is not much more than a shell without real content. Therefore, time and again, new spiritual impulses are needed to propel humanity toward consciousness and renewal as it continuously evolves.
Everything that the streams of wisdom in ancient times had yielded in the form of strength, wisdom and love, was gathered and renewed in original Christianity. Over the centuries, however, even Christianity became subject to formalism and decay. But always there have been individuals and groups who knew and practiced the inner religion, sometimes openly but often secretly.
If a person looks back at the development of humanity with inner knowledge, he will know where to go. At that point this striving for a high purpose in the future is not based solely on knowledge of the past. No, rather it concerns an attunement to Tao, to that which is eternal, to that which transcends and yet irradiates time and space.
Reflection on the past and the future
For those who follow the spiritual path it will be of help to reflect regularly on what lies behind as well as what lies ahead. After all, the human mind, this power of reflection, has been created precisely for the acquisition of this consciousness! Therefore in all mystery schools contemplation and reflection have been taught, with the aim of daily practice, not just at the turn of the year.
A writing called The Golden Verses of Pythagoras recommends the following to us:
Never allow sleep to close your eyelids, after you have gone to bed, until you have examined all your actions of the day through your reason.
Where have I done wrong? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
If in this examination you find that you have done wrong, reprove yourself severely for it; and if you have done any good, rejoice.
Max Heindel clearly explained the background of this evening exercise of retrospection. According to him, this contributes to ensuring that the lessons of life become a part of head and heart.
That is why Elihu says at the end of chapter 10 of The Aquarian Gospel:
Now truth is one; but no one knows the truth until he is the truth. Truth is the leavening power of God; it can transmute the all of life into itself; and when the all of life is truth, then man is truth.