Monday reflection 2



2 spirituele pinksteren

There is a grand divine plan unfolding in the universe – not only in the world of time, space and matter so familiar to us, but above all in the worlds, dimensions and spheres which exist beyond our imagination.

We are only barely aware of the fact that man is essentially a spiritual being who is linked to the divine world. Yet we are not just dual beings, but we constitute a living, dynamic tri-unity thanks to our soul. The new soul, the Other-One-within-us, is an intermediary between the bodily figure and the spiritual figure.

The soul’s nature and mission is to bring the ‘one’ and the ‘many’ into constant balance with each other, to connect the heavenly with the earthly, to build a bridge between heaven and earth. However linking holy spiritual power with a rather stubborn and unconscious earthly personality is definitely no simple task. But thanks to this dynamic process, the Other-One-within-us can develop.

The outer human being who is truly searching for life will spontaneously be ready to orient himself to the pure teachings of the soul, to become its pupil. In mystery schools it is not only the pupil but also the soul who is taught and supported in order to consciously allow body, soul and spirit to be forged into a unity.

This process is the goal of humanity; it is for this purpose that a material human being has been created who can fulfil the task of receiving, bearing and propagating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by means of the soul.

Spiritual traditions teach that creation emerged from the desire of the Unknowable One to know Himself. In various Gnostic traditions it is taught that nine hierarchies of spiritual beings – also called hosts of angels – are working together lovingly on the execution of the divine plan of creation in our universe.

There is a treatise by Dionysius mentioning these heavenly hierarchies by their names: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Powers, Dominions, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

Spiritual writers such as Rudolf Steiner and Max Heindel taught that humanity is called to be the tenth spiritual hierarchy and therefore to cooperate consciously and with great joy in the revelation of the glory of God.

A small part of humanity already partakes of that tenth hierarchy: they are the so-called spirit-soul human beings. They have accomplished the Christian assignment to build an immortal body of resurrection in their microcosm through a path of purification.

The mortal human body is not capable of directly receiving the high power of the holy spirit, for it would burn at the first touch. Therefore it is necessary to obtain a new body of high purity that can tolerate the spirit forces.

A mystery school guides and supports the delicate and highly spiritual process of building the soul body. This new body is made up of astral substance and is constructed from a nucleus.

This spirit-nucleus can be found in the region of the human heart. A human being is therefore an essential element in the execution of the divine plan of creation. Only a human being can build a living connection between the material world and the truly spiritual world – a bridge between earth and heaven.

The essence of the soul is unity, freedom and love. Fundamentally everything is connected to everything and there is perfect unity in all areas of matter and spirit. It is only the obscured human consciousness, trained on self-preservation, that does not perceive this unity and enters into battle.

The mutual interaction and immediate influence of everything on everything else is confirmed through scientific observations, thus imposing a great responsibility on those who become aware of this unity.

When it comes to applying such a life of unity in daily life, we experience that often we fail hopelessly. But however imperfect we may feel, however desperate we may get when we find that we usually do what we do not really want to do, we can always orient ourselves to the soul, the mediator. In the seemingly simple story from chapter 34 of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, a helping hand is reached out to us.

Jesus arrives at a large fig tree and stays there for a few days teaching anyone who comes to him. Mary Magdalene and some other women bring him food. Jesus is good to the birds that come to him, and when he leaves, he blesses the women who took care of him and the fig tree that gave him fruit and shelter from the heat. Thereafter the fig tree began to grow enormously, blossoming and bearing fruit.

We can recognize the essence of a mystery school in this story. The fig tree is an ancient symbol of initiation. Jesus symbolises the spirit-soul human being who has accepted the task of initiating into the Mysteries all those people who make themselves fit for it, that is, all those in whom the spirit nucleus has awakened. Everyone who truly seeks will therefore always be taught and supported.

No human being is able to judge whether he or she is ready for this inner task. Maturity for this task is tested invisibly, but after the test such a mature human being is inevitably guided on a special path of life, the path of initiation. Such a path seemingly appears in your life ‘out of the blue,’ you stumble into it.

Pupils in the mysteries in whom some aspects of the new soul have already developed – symbolised by the women in this story, for the soul is regarded as feminine – help to ensure that this teaching can take place. Mary Magdalene is involved as well.

Now this Mary was of the city of Magdala in Galilee. She was a great sinner and had seduced many by her beauty and comeliness. She came to Jesus by night and confessed her sins and he put forth his hand and healed her and cast out of her seven demons…

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve 10: 2

Galilee means ‘turning, reversing’ and the healing from ‘the seven demons’ by the inner Jesus can take place only when there is an orientation toward the soul – an orientation strong enough that we can let go of all those attractive and beautiful aspects of the outer person.

The word devil comes from the Greek ‘diabolos’ meaning accuser, adversary. The seven demons or devils therefore symbolise the naturally opposing forces in the sevenfold human bodily figure (the personality), the sevenfold soul figure and the sevenfold spiritual figure.

No human being, however striving, can cleanse himself of himself. A higher power is necessary to perform this process. That is why you should always direct your focus back to your inner companion. A person from Galilee – a human being who turned around – tries to accept the help of the sevenfold cleansing power as much as possible, just like Hercules diverted the water flow to clean the Augean stables.

Step by step, the cleansing continues while slowly but surely the new body takes shape in the human being. Jesus compares it to a process in which a tiny seed, symbolising the spirit-spark in the heart and centre of the microcosm, grows into a mighty tree:

The kingdom of Heaven is like to a certain seed, small among seeds, which a man takes and sows in his field; but when it is grown, it becomes a great tree which sends forth its branches all around, which again, shooting downward into the earth, take root and grow upward until the field is covered by the tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof and the creatures of the earth find shelter beneath it.

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve 39: 2

The tree which is firmly rooted in the earth and stretches its crown into the sky is an important symbol in many spiritual traditions. In Kabbalah, a mystery tradition within Judaism, there is the so-called Tree of Life. This is an abstract pattern of ten circles that are connected to each other in such a way that it looks like a tree. The ten circles represent certain qualities or attributes and are called Sephiroth.

In Kabbalah, and also in other traditions, it is taught that the inner structure of all things is tenfold.

If something manifests itself, then that manifestation is always sevenfold, because the three higher Sephiroth of the tree of life never manifest themselves but always remain purely spiritual. In The Gospel of the Holy Twelve the number seven is quite frequently used. The seven qualities mentioned are sometimes associated with seven planets, the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven notes of the octave, the seven chakras or power centres of the personality and the seven rays of the Seven-Spirit.

The author Max Heindel distinguishes seven cosmic planes, stating that humanity lives in a separated section within the seventh of these cosmic planes. Within the individual universe of a human being, the microcosm, there are also seven areas, the seventh of which is the only one that has been activated.

The author Jan van Rijckenborgh states that the divine spark at the centre of the human microcosm is also sevenfold. From this spark a sevenfold spiritual figure can originate as a result of the cooperation of the sevenfold bodily figure or personality with the sevenfold soul figure. All this is only possible thanks to the activity of the Seven-Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

All this may sound very abstract and perhaps it is because it is practically impossible to get a clear and accurate picture of these things immediately when you hear or read about them for the first time. Yet it does tell us something of the greatness of the divine plan underlying our visible world.

One aspect of the sevenfold cleansing is that the veils are lifted from the consciousness and we learn to see everything and everyone as a manifestation of the divine, even including all their imperfections. That is the highest form of respect.

The word respect is made up of the Latin words ‘re’ and ‘spectare’ and literally means ‘looking again.’ Its deeper meaning is to experience love for the divine that is present in everything and everyone with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.

If we see a tree as a manifestation of the divine, we are helping the tree to better reflect the archetype ‘tree.’ And when we see a human being as an expression of the heavenly man, then we are helping the heavenly man to increasingly reflect himself in that person. We can wipe away the illusion of separateness by consciously thinking, feeling and acting from unity.

We conclude this reflection with the parable of the fishes from chapter 57 of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve:

And there were certain men of doubtful mind who came to Jesus, and said to him, “You tell us that our life and being is from God, but we have never seen God, nor do we know of any God. Can you show us whom you call the Father-Mother, the One God? We do not know if there is a God.”

Jesus answered them saying, “Listen to this parable of the fishes. The fishes of a certain river communed with one another, saying, ‘They tell us that our life and being is from water, but we have never seen water; we do not know what water is.’ Then some among them, wiser than the rest said, ‘We have heard there dwells in the sea a wise and learned Fish who knows all things. Let us journey to him and ask him to show us what water is.’

So several of them set out to find this great and wise Fish. And they came at last to the sea in which the wise Fish dwelt, and they asked him.

When he heard them he said to them, ‘O you foolish fish that do not consider! Wise are you, the few, who seek. In the water you live, and move, and have your being; from the water you came, to the water you return. You live in the water, yet you do not know it.’ In like manner, you live in God, and yet you ask of me, show us God. God is in all things and all things are in God.”

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve 57: 7-10