Friday, 22 October 2021

Three Principles

In future posts, script italicised in bold will indicate an extract from my private pathworking/contemplation diaries.  

"..........I waited to see what would emerge. Then I saw that I had entered a church, and before me lay an open, darkened crypt accessed by a ramp leading eastwards. I walked down the ramp and found myself in a large space which appeared to extend limitlessly outwards into the darkness.

Immediately before me stood an altar of unidentifiable material. On the altar stood a transparent bowl, so clear that it seemed to represent form without substance. In the bowl was a similarly clear liquid which I lit from hand fire.  

Behind the altar appeared a column of light, its colour a rich golden-yellow; and it seemed to be alive. The darkness around me deepened, and with a slight sense of disorientation, I rose upwards above the altar and felt my hands reach out in front of me. In response I sensed a corresponding gesture from the glowing column, until our hands were clasped together. I believe I have been welcomed. Then I observed that I was dressed in the black habit of a monk, the symbol of celibacy, chastity and obedience.........."

          It seems to me that, at a level not too far below that of the ego yet separate from it, there exists an apparently infinite expanse ..... a 'field' perhaps ..... (as if in some psychic, radiation field) of unknowingness. No thoughts or emotions exist on that plane and neither, or so it would seem, do 'facts'. What does exist, however, is language ..... language in the form of symbols or images. As C.G.Jung said,

"The spiritual element [of a human being] carries on an active dialogue with the personal element of our selfhood through the use of symbols. The spiritual element is not a silent partner in the business of life, but demands active participation in the growth and transformation of the individual. Unlike the mind-emotion complex, the pneumatic component does not express itself in words or in ordinary feelings [emotions; my parenthesis]. Dreams, visions, altered states of consciousness and what Jung called synchronistic experiences are the most important avenues for these symbolic communications". [Eleanor Bertine's work, "Jung's Contribution to our Time".]

          As with any conversing pair, conversations can be many and varied. Here I will concentrate on just one such conversation, one which spoke about a need, a .....commitment even ..... to the principles of celibacy, chastity and obedience in the spiritual life. But how may one interpret these principles? I can give only brief observations here because the principles run deep, and have far-reaching consequences. 

          Celibacy, a voluntary vow of abstinence is, I would suggest, about ..... non-attachment ..... (I prefer that term to 'detachment') to the things of what the bible calls ..... the 'flesh'..... the province of the ego. When applied to the external life it seems to me to be a travesty of purity and of non-attachment.

          On chastity, one would say that it is about ..... temperance ..... the habit of avoiding all extremes of behaviour. Clearly, the avoidance of total celibacy would be included here. I find it difficult to exclude any form of fundamentalism, religious or otherwise, from this principle.

          On obedience, and this need not flout the much-idolised principle of so-called ..... free will ..... an expression which I feel is sometimes much misunderstood. One enters into spiritual obedience, and I stress 'spiritual', not political or social obedience ..... freely ..... accepting that one's higher Self, or soul, knows better, and is wiser, than the ego. The ego primarily serves the interests of itself, not of something higher.

          And it must also be that living according to these principles is possible.


  1. Good morning, dear Tom,
    I'm delighted to see you're still here and, presumably, well. I/we shall return, maybe not to the blog (who knows?) but certainly to read through your recent musings.
    All the best,

    1. It's lovely to hear from you again. Please give my best wishes to Crow in his retirement, temporary or otherwise. And we are all well here.

  2. A lovely post Tom.
    You have emphasized the voluntary nature of these principles. I agree and also with your final assertion.
    In your pathworking you were welcomed for you had chosen the path not in fear but in love.
    No good can come from them without a full and willing heart. I think that too often ‘teachers’ have attempted to force these principles upon willing but unprepared individuals. It seems obvious to me that a good guide would find ways to encourage the novice to find these qualities in themselves through patience and love.

    So, non-attachment, moderation and enlightened choice.

    1. Thank you Deanna. Unless there is love, trust stands on very shaky ground, and can end in disaster. And yes, the Path must be chosen willingly, with love, regardless of where that Path may lead.

  3. Hi Tom,
    Those 3 principles are very well presented and concise. I like the fine distinction you suggest as a preference for non attachment. Similarly the style of the post makes it easier ti read than those previously. Not that it is meant as a criticism. Best wishes