THE WISDOM AND THE WAY
By Eric McGough
These are the full session notes from the Theosophical audio course – seven pages.
For details of this audio course and others in this series, click –
North Wales Centre for Theosophy.
SESSION FOUR - LAW.
In this session we will be discussing evolution from the point of view of the laws that govern its work. These laws are usually referred to as ‘divine laws’ or ‘natural laws’, they are the laws that make the whole of creation conform to the divine plan. This plan can also be seen as the ‘will’ or ‘purpose’ of the Logos, at whatever level of manifestation, be it Cosmic, Galactic, Solar, Planetary, or personal. I would remind you that whatever relates to the greater being also relates in like manner to us. Therefore, our individual lives are subject to the same laws that govern the Cosmos.
If we refer back to the three fundamental propositions set out in the Secret Doctrine, we will see three of these laws put there for us to consider by HP Blavatsky. You will find them on page three of the first session notes – ‘Why We Need the Wisdom Teaching’.
Translating these ‘fundamental propositions’ with regard to law we have.
1. Creation is the expression of a power that is omnipresent, limitless, and eternal. Therefore, everything is subject to ITS will, and this power is within ALL aspects of creation carrying out ITS purpose. (Thy will, be done.)
2. The law relating to movement or progression in creation is that everything MUST move in cycles. All processes, however great or small, can only operate in accord with this law; nothing moves outside this cyclic pattern.
3. All expressions of creation must pass through All cycles, without exception. There are no short cuts, no jumping this or that stage. We may refuse to see the next step, and we may waste lifetimes going back over well-trodden ground, but by doing so we are only trying to avoid the inevitable. Despite our ignorance, one way or another we will complete the course set out for us in the divine plan – evolution.
These three fundamental laws give rise to all others as creation proceeds. In them, we can see a very important fact – they are intrinsic to the process, creation, manifestation, or Being that is the originating cause Itself.
Everything is subject to the Will of the creator because that power is by its very nature omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Because IT is everything and everywhere there is nothing outside of it, so everything is subject to its nature.
All processes must move in cycles because it is the nature of creation itself to do just that. We call these cycles the days and nights of Brahm or manvantara and pralaya etc. Because creation unfolds in cycles even our little lives are subject to that same cyclic law.
All Aspects, Beings, parts of Beings and any other designation that we can come up with must pass through all stages of the creation process because all are part of the creator, and what the creator does He/She/It does as a whole.
We can gain so much insight into the real nature of life if we spend some time meditating on these fundamental ideas. By meditating on such concepts we can speed up the process of re-connecting with the inner side of the Wisdom Teachings.
Because all of life is One Life, it is clear that all laws are expressions of the nature of that One Life, but divine law operates in different ways at different levels of existence. Therefore what is a fundamental principle at the logoic level becomes a seemingly mechanical process at the physical level. For example, we would not normally view the incidents of action/re-action, which we see around us in the physical world, as an expression of the Divine Plan. Nor would we be inclined to see them as central to the workings of evolution. Yet they are. In spiritual terms we call the action/re-action process karma, and karma is the cosmic law that holds the divine plan together, ensuring that the creative process does not run out of control. Without the law of karma evolution would quickly decay into chaos.
Without the law of karma our individual lives would also run out of control resulting in our personal destruction. We could not evolve without the balancing effect of karma forcing us to face the consequences of our actions.
The law of karma has a twin sister; so to speak, it is reincarnation, which is an expression of the law of cyclic evolution. Through the action of these twin laws we will eventually rise to the level of super humanity. This is our destiny and our divine inheritance.
But we still have a long way to go before we can lay claim to our divine inheritance. Lifetime upon lifetime lie in the past, and lifetimes more await us in the future, lifetimes to grow and to learn, and to develop our potential. We can not make sense of our lives from the standpoint of a single life. That view gives rise to all of the seeming injustices in the world. From the viewpoint of a single life we can not justify or explain the apparent evil, the cruelty, the inequality, and the futility of human life on earth. What would be the point of living for only a few years of suffering – say, as a child with cancer – and then dying, or as a starving child in Africa, or the limb torn child-victims of wars. In one way or another, to one degree or another, we all have to suffer as we pass through the years of our little existences – until we reach a state of enlightenment, that is. What would we have gained if our lives amounted to no more than some amusement, some pain, some enjoyment, and some disappointments? From an intelligent point of view, the idea of only one life is absolutely indefensible. It makes a mockery of peoples suffering, their bravery, and their indomitable spirit.
In the highest sense, the laws that control the processes of creation are expressions of higher forms of life. These are the hierarchies of beings, which ‘unfold’ from the Logos as manifestation proceeds. From these, lesser beings unfold; and then others from within them, all the way down to the Elementals – the little lives that do all of the housework on the three lowest planes. There are no laws that are decided upon and then enforced by some authority. Such laws would be subject to review and constant change.
These great beings are known by many names, names given to them by every religion and every school of philosophical thought. Archangels, Devas, Watchers, Builders, Demigods, Spirits before the Throne, Elohim and so on. In theosophical terms they are generally known as Devas and Dhyan Chohans. Whatever name we give them does not change what they are, and that is the result of previous manifestations. They are the accumulated powers of the Logos, returned and assimilated into capacity during the pralaya, and then unfolded to express that capacity – that potential – and go on to accumulate even more during the subsequent manvantara or period of manifestation.
Now we can see what divine law really is – it is the experience of the past expressed through accumulated capacity as faculty, intelligence, and wisdom in the present. In another sense it is the way that things are because the beings that give expression to them are what they have become. Matter behaves as it does, not because some one says that it should, but because it has only the capacity to be what it is from the way that it has developed over time. One of the qualities that matter has developed is to attract itself to itself, the greater the density the greater it attracts. We call this the law of gravity but it is really one of the qualities or capacities that the beings ensouling it have developed. As we have already considered, both the forms and the life that ensoul them are evolving together.
Seen from this point of view, we can see that all aspects of life, from the highest to the lowest, are expressions of beings, from the mightiest Devas to the lowliest Elementals, and vast numbers in between. We humans are not single entities; we are in fact a conglomerate of countless entities. Our bodies alone are hosts to a mass of elemental beings at the etheric and astral levels, all doing specialised work, tasks that developed over an incredible time scale. When we say ‘I’ we should say ‘we’ because we are a vast co-operative, a corporate organisation functioning with amazing complexity. The fact that our many vehicles, with their manifold existences, can function as a conscious, self aware, individual spiritual being is beyond normal understanding.
All of the billions of beings in manifestation are embodiments of law, the greater the being, the greater the visibility and the wider and more universal the law that they express. We can not step outside the laws of manifestation. We are not a law onto ourselves. We are part and parcel of all law. Law is what we are and law is what defines us. Only our ignorance allows us to act as though these laws were not real. That ignorance is a temporary thing. Ignorance of gravity will not stop you from falling off a cliff. Ignorance of the law of karma will not excuse you from having to redress the balance of every inharmonious act, feeling, or thought, in time.
Apart from natural or spiritual law, we also have man made laws, and these are significant in ways that may not be apparent at first glance. Man made laws are all about power – control over those who come under the jurisdiction of those laws. In the case of the laws of the land we have no, or very little, choice. We know the laws and we know the consequences if we break them. On the other hand, man made spiritual laws are a totally different matter.
Here we have the same power structure, and the same control factor, but in addition we have a mediator, the priest, saint, prophet, holy man, guru or whatever. The problem with this is that all mediators by their very nature take away your personal power, your power to see your life in terms of your own connection with your spiritual self. This is fine, if you are not interested in your own development as a spiritual being, or if you are too busy with material living to be bothered looking for meaningful answers about life. But if you want to develop spiritually and seek a higher meaning to life, you will need to regain control of your own power. You will need to seek answers from sources that do not want to control you but want to empower you. From sources that will help you to discover and understand the hidden laws of nature and the workings of real divine law. Through these sources you can make your own choices regarding spiritual law just as you do regarding the law of the land.
The third object of the Theosophical Society is –
To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.
By this means we can come to a true understanding of the real nature of life and by working with its laws begin to realise our potential. All our troubles – illness, pain, fears, sorrows, disabilities, disappointments, frustrations, failures, loneliness etc are the result of thinking, feeling, and acting out of harmony with the divine law or archetypal plan; the laws or states of being, which hold everything in a continuous cyclic flowing motion, from absolute potential to absolute realisation, from non-being to being. It is the divine pattern that ensures all things will unfold in their time as integral parts of an ever-becoming process.
Study of the Ancient Wisdom brings us into contact with forgotten parts of ourselves. It reawakens us to our divine inheritance. Through its record we can free ourselves from the illusions and fears fostered in us by centuries of mediators, and reclaim what little real power we do have to start to develop the spiritual powers that are latent within us. If we learn to recognise spiritual law and seek to harmonise our lives with it, we will find that the world around us is not a hostile place, full of horrors and dangers, but a magical place full of wonders and incredible beauty.
In the meantime, ignorance of laws does not mean exemption from them. We reap exactly as we sow, whether knowingly or not.
The Theosophical Society in Wales