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Notes to Transformation - Chapter 8 - THE TRANSPERSONAL

 

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There are many events and states which cannot be recorded by our five senses. Some can be measured if not sensed, like ultra-violet light and gamma radiation. Others can neither be measured nor sensed, but are acknowledged by a large part of mankind. We call experiences that cannot be comprehended directly by our five senses transpersonal. There is one common understanding about them: they form a hierarchical structure of increasing power and diversity which approaches ever nearer to being one with the universe itself. Paranormal psychic phenomena, seeing auras, clairvoyance and clairvision, prescience and so on are only minor parts of the transpersonal. The higher levels embrace the soul and the Self, intimacy with supreme presences and spiritual guides, archetypes, archangels, access to divine wisdom and ultimately, we hope, transcendence into Oneness.

We have no direct means of communicating with any of these levels. Nor do they have our physical senses for communicating with us. If we see a strange phenomenon what do our eyes register? We know only too well that when faced with the unexpected the eye calls in the enormous facilities of the brain and interprets it so that whatever was sensed will be output as recognizable fantasies such as ghosts, symbols or tribal shibboleths like flying saucers.

In truth, for many phenomena we do not know whether they have come from outside us or from within. Did Seth speak from the spiritual realm through Jane Roberts or is this how she interpreted something appearing within her? Does the shaman draw down the powers of the gods or does he harness the concerted energies of his tribal followers? At root, the spiritual realm cannot be labeled. Channellers are picking up something, but when we get it, it has been censored and filtered through the emotional nodes and mental images of the medium. As the experience is indescribable, its truth gets distorted to fit into what we can conceive.

The cultural background creates much of this, for Christian mystics will record journeys quite differently to Tibetans or Sufis. When Saint John wrote his vision in the Book of Revelations, his mind naturally expressed it through the end-of-world imagery then current among his fellow Jews. His analogy of the four horsemen of the apocalypse became anchored into western culture so that later Christians would often give their visions an apocalyptic setting. The images used by Tibetans and Christians are but poor symbolic pointers to mysteries that are incomprehensible to the mind. Mind cannot grasp the fullness that underlies them. So, if they cannot be rendered into language, how can we be sure they have any external validity beyond fancifulness?

A significant proportion of dreams, visions and transpersonal experiences come in a similar way to everyone on this planet. Symbols and myth are a secret language we all share from the collective unconscious. They are universal in time, place and culture, showing they are innate to humanity. They keep giving us the same two messages: that there was, in the past, a descent or fall from some higher state, and that we have a spiritual destiny to return to its glory and grace. In details that vary from culture to culture, they signpost an ongoing pathway for inner development which creates an indwelling sense of our destiny and wholeness.

When a community concentrates on the material outer world, contact with symbol and myth is lessened. A malaise is growing in this world full of people without hope or purpose beyond their immediate needs. We need once more to listen to our dreams and to recall the messages. They are confirming that the spiritual realm is an organic part of the psyche. It is born with us and is as much part of our heritage as our bodies, our essence and lifeforce. The messages tell us, again in universal symbols, that the goal of life is neither happiness nor perfection for their own sake, but wholeness so the Self may live in us - a Self that has all the qualities of power, value and holiness which religions attribute to God.

Except for this, from our biographical point of view the messages may seem mere consequences of our birth. We could translate them as confirming our primal longing to reverse our separation from mother so we might reenter the womb as the garden of Eden. The journey may be little more than a reflection of baby’s nostalgia except for one undeniable fact: the consciousness we bring to the journey profoundly alters the situation.

When we meet someone who has wholeness we recognise that he has serenity, powers and a universal wisdom denied to the rest of us. In exercising these qualities consciously he shows he has not returned to the unconscious oneness of the womb, but has moved to a higher level of being. That we recognise these qualities of serenity and wisdom shows they lie within us as potentials.

 

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