What part does the astral and the spiritual influence play in our existence?
Although our goal is not to perfect our divine nature, since the emanated soul of the Divine is of necessity already perfect, our thought consciousness maintains an illusory perception of the world, nevertheless. Therefore, how can we aspire to free will if we are prisoners of our lower nature?
It is up to us to unravel the astral part of our existence and how to develop the spiritual influence, the aspiration of the soul towards its higher dimension, so that one day, we can have access through the “way of the heart” to the “central initiation”.
Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin deplores the fact that most people making up earthly humanity is bogged down in the sidereal relationship at the level of their astral body:
For it is a truth that is most certain, that instead of seeking to break their chains, men seek almost everywhere only to add more; and whether out of negligence to repel their enemy, or through their careless enthusiasm to fly before him, the whole of humanity is almost divided into two parts, in which one is constantly in the passive sidereal mode or in a servile and fatal somnambulist state, and the other is in a sidereal and more fatally active state, in which after having its limit, it falls again into the most difficult and frightening of slaveries.( from the spirit of things, vol, 1, p.193)
Observation of our companies is sufficient to understand how lax the reaction of one is or emotional the other in matters of politics, the economy and competition, finances or even religion and so on, all swilling from the same trough of karmic astral programming, giving rise to formatted response, conditioned by a RAM disk on which the best and the worst (all the slag) of humanity has been gathered and recorded. From this our mechanistic thought arise, our conditioning, our beliefs and most of the words ending in “ism” that have ossified the moving and creative thought of the Divine. We are therefore “individually”, and consequently “ collectively” the authors of our evils and madness in all spheres of society, as much among government, financiers and most religious authorities as among the ignorant majority who get trapped in the mesh of astral influence. And so the wheel of incarnations,( such as astral clock of fatalism), uncoils an ever-continuing history upon the stage of humanity and repeated to varying degrees!
To conquer the astral, to get off the beaten paths, to get out of samsara, to kill the old man, to become “ man of desire”, these expressions are all invitations to new dawns. This is the re-birth to which Lousi-claude de Saint-Martin invites us:
Yet if our temporal destiny is interlinked with the astral, it disappears before the divine, for this is the eternal unity to which man, above all beings, has the power to re-join. ( from the spirit of things, vol.1, 197)
The word ‘power’ here is understood to have no relation to a temporal and egocentric power!
The “Eastern Theosophy of Light” or “Eastern Theosophy” according to the Platonists’ philosophies of Persia ( Avicenna, Sohrawadi, Ibn Arabi), suggests the equivalent of our Inner Master under the guise of an Intermediary Angel (nothing to do with the idea of a Guardian Angel) attached to each of us as a double at the soul level. In some ways it calls to mind our Higher Self directing our Lower self. This angel confines itself to the East of the soul ( our perfect, immortal human soul) and wait for us to hear its voice ( our inner voice) prompting us at each moment while our soul-personality continues to delude itself by confusing the astral and the spiritual.
- The soul is thus a mirror with two faces so to speak
- The practical face intervenes on the level thought, judgement, emotion and intellect.
- The contemplative face is on the level of the spiritual, unconditional love of pure knowledge.
Whether it is Intermediary Angel or the Inner Master ( what do terms matter?), it is important to open one’s heart to the Sophia (wisdom) to allow the “dawning Lights’ to penetrate the Self so that we are no longer “disorientated!”. Whether we are conscious of it or not, only spirituality can give meaning and direction to our being.
All Sages have expressed this longing of the soul towards its higher dimension, towards the fiery and luminous centre that Buddhist call the “Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus” so that one day soon, we will be able to reach the “ Central Initiation” through the “ Way of the Heart’. “This initiation is one by which we can enter the heart of God and make an indissoluble marriage.”(l-c. de Saint Martin)
In Sohrawardi’s view, the purpose of life is to make the soul grow so that it can radiate throughout the body and transfigure it into spiritualized matter. It thus makes humanity the recipient of Divine Light. He writes: “ I celebrate the liturgy of victorious light, strength, the Archangel of theurgy which is man”. Sohrawardi thinks that the purifying effort of each soul is like an eclipse, a beautiful poetic image to invoke the required unveiling.
Closer to home, if only one verse of Sri Aurobindo’s poems were to be quoted to talk about the human soul, then the following would be my preferred one: “To put God’s joy into the self awakens our souls”. The great poet were able to draw upon the inspired word with the Muse or Inspirer-Angel, grasping through the poetic voice the illumined meaning of the word, because “ the word comes secretly from beyond though. It has wings like the simorgh ( the fabulous bird of the Epistle of Birds from Avicenna, an initiatic tale0, it rise from its ashes through inspiration like the Phoenix, it is white like the Peace Dove, it strings words together like the pearls on a Divine Crown (Kether).
There are flashes of light from the East once a soul have been purified and can reach beyond the astral into the spiritual realms that belonged to it, “ the soul of man soaring above the sidereal to be directed by pure spirit. They are a class of men truly within the line or those who have separated the metals within them and have formed a marriage with the proven gold”. (L-C. de Saint –Martin, Of the Spirit of Things, vol, 1, p.195)
How can we not wonder, like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in Hymn of the Universe, what more essential thing there is in the mystical quest: “to have found the word to dominate matter, or to possess the matter to attain and be affected by the light of God”? Is he not suggesting that “ the stuff of the Universe, in becoming thinking, has not yet achieved its evolutionary circle?”
The evolution of the humanity’s consciousness advances according to the breakout made from within the confines of astral thought, going round and round in the mental scaffolding that always ends up collapsing crossing the desert, or among the ruins stuck in the mesh of the fluidic envelope. How many dark nights, ascent and descent, are a prelude to “ this transformation consisting of going from a life of the sense to a life of the spirit” and to this questioning which, according to John of the Cross, makes the cause of the darkness due to two opposites ( the astral influence and the spiritual influence). “Now, two opposites are incompatible upon the same subject, and the soul being the subject where these two opposites fight each other, there must of necessity be suffering, “ he said in the Dark Night.
The astral system, operating as a continuous loop, has a tendency to reduce all thought to the mechanical, and every word to some ancestral conditioning and defensive activity. In short, we are always at war with ourselves, creating more internecine wars on a human scale. In fact, it is noticeable that when all is quiet and easy, people have the tendency to “fall asleep on their laurels”, and that they need dramas, catastrophes and strong emotion to regain the impulse of generosity and solidarity at a time of tests and trials. Yet once events have passed, they return to their thought patterns and their lies. Invariably, suffering, the crossing of the desert, the dark night, these are all a product of the game of readjustment responding to the call of the inner master that we do not see in our mirror, so blinded are we by the astral envelope and egotistical illusions. To seek perception on the ONE, to tame the natural self by means of the spiritual self, to emerge from ignorance and aspire to knowledge, these are the processes towards liberation and accession to real free will.
There Is a time to name, conceptualize, separate and list, analyze, compile and study. Then there is a time when “ the tangible contours of individuality disappear”, a time when “ the feeling of our finiteness no longer confines us”. ( Suzuki). Even if we are well versed in the greatest subtleties of Buddhist philosophy, the Kabala, Sufism or any other spiritual hue, only the mystical ,meaning remains common to each of them. There is no other way to convert our ignorance into knowledge or to transform darkness into light than by awakening of our deepest desire. We have to dismantle our mechanistic thinking and the tendency to intellectualize everything, to stop fighting windmills or talk like a puppet on a string; all these only give the astral world more force. Let’s be Men and Women of Desire. Let’s open the higher door of the heart, let us go and meet our Angel, in the manner Hermes and Poimandre meet in the first book of the Hermes Trismegistus’ Corpus Hermeticum. Here, the Egyptian Promethean, the personified Nous, appears to Hermes and instructs him:
Once as I meditated on the essential things and my heart was elevated to great heights, all my bodily sensations were completely numbed as happens to those overcome by a heavy sleep after a huge meal or from great physical fatigue. I thought there came to me great being, vast and boundless, who called me by my name and said:
What do you wish to hear and see and what to you desire to learn and know in your heart?
Who are you ? I asked.
And he answered: I am poimandre, the Mind, the beings who is suffi3cient unto itself. I know what you want and I am with you Everywhere.
I long to be instructed in the things that exist, to understand their nature, to know God. Oh! How I desire to understand! ( Corpus Hermeticum, “I, Poimandres”)
On that day, we will be a New Man on this calm Earth. Let us exhort ourselves each day to respect this injunction:
Therefore, man, wake up each day before the dawn to speed up your work. It is to your shame that your daily incense only burns after sunrise. It is not the light of the dawn that once had to tell your prayer to come and pay homage to the God of beings, and ask for mercy. Your prayer itself should have called the light of the dawn and make it shine upon your work so that then you could pour it from the height of the celestial east upon their nation slumbering inaction, and pull them out of their darkness. Only through such vigilance can your edifice grow, and enable your soul to become like one of the dozen pearls that must one day serve as gate to the holy city.( L-C.de Saint-Martin, The New Man p.43)
Let us not delay this living alchemy, let us not postpone this meeting with the other half of ourselves, with our spiritual twin!
Let us never again be our worst enemy for “ the Universal God longs to pass through our entire being so as to become our companion. This friend is us, this companion following us like our shadow is always us, the angelic mediator is again us, and this radiant soul that dwells in us, “ is a soul which God has just visited, and left his precious token of love and wealth… it will live forever in the Divine East, its first home, because the Lord gave it the creative word that has developed all its properties, its gifts, its attributes of which it is the result and the agent. He has cast over her his vivifying eye, and it was regenerated in its entire being, as all of nature regenerates itself through the vivifying gaze of the sun