The Experience of the Spiritual
Sep 19, 1994 08:14 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
This is by Eldon Tucker.
The Experience of the Spiritual
It is said that it is much easier to begin training
in the Mysteries as a youth. One advantage of an early
start is that there is considerable energy for growth
and exploration of life in the early years, while the
quota of life, of prana, is full, before becoming
exhausted in the excesses of later life. A greater
advantage, though, is that there is much that does not
need to be unlearned. The knowledge of our western,
materialistic civilization is both a blessing and a
curse. It informs us; it gives us power over material
things; it has a great deal of truth to it. Yet with
regard to things of the spiritual side of life, it has
huge blind spots, huge gaps that it won't recognize.
When we study a subject, we try to tie in what we
already know with what we are studying. This is a
helpful approach as long as what we know is true, and
the connections that we are making with the new learning
expand our knowledge. It is much harder to study a
subject when we are required to give up what we think
that we know! This is the case with much we may have
picked up in popular thought, as well as perhaps some of
our ideas finding their origin in the popular New Age
Consider the spiritual consciousness. What is it?
Where does it appear in our lives? Is it something real,
permanent, lasting, or something delusional, a product
of self-deception? Does it just come from a happy
feeling, or is there something more substantive, more
real and lasting to it?
Like any form of consciousness, it can be
experienced as transitory, as something that comes in
flashes, or lasts for a period of time, then is gone.
This experience of it is the precursor, though, to its
permanence. There is a real, solid, permanent nature to
the spiritual-intellectual that can become a continuous
experience throughout life, in much the same way as
thinking and feeling and sense perception are continuous
experiences of life in the world.
Although it can become a permanent faculty of
consciousness, when the appropriate principles of
conscious take an active role in our life, it is not
guaranteed, and could be lost at some future time.
Especially in the early stages of spiritual progress,
the connection is tenuous, and can be broken at times.
It is possible to lost one's higher faculties. Once
lost, they might leave us feeling that our previous
state of awareness was unreal, as a beautiful or bad
dream, but unreal. We might look at legitimate cases of
self-delusion in others, and wonder if we too had not
been deluded. Since we need to view things as moving
forward, always for the better, we might not want to
think of the situation as having lost a great treasure.
But it is true, there are spiritual treasures that can
be both won and lost. There are grand prizes awaiting
us. And we cannot take for granted an automatic right to
what we have already attained; we can lost what we have
if we do not use it rightly.
Outer society tends to punish dissent. Those who go
against the established order are opposed, suppressed,
and sometimes expelled. This is true of all organized
bodies. A church may use the threat of damnation to
scare its followers into keeping in line (keeping their
eyes down and their minds closed). An established body
of psychologists may use the threat of mental illness or
insanity to restrict our thoughts and behavior, lest we
dare leave normalcy behind. Scientific bodies may use
the threat of banishment, the cutting off of research
funds, refusal to publish papers, and other forms of
shunning to expel heretics. Political groups can use
prisons, oppression, and the imposition of economic
hardship to keep citizens in line.
Why should we feel in danger of banishment, in
danger of arousing the opposition of the established
order of things? We shouldn't, unless undertaking a
certain lifestyle of active opposition to the status
quo. It is possible to become holy, wise, and spiritual,
and to improve our lives and the lives of those about us
without taking on the outer world head-on. It really
depends upon our particular goal in live. Sometimes we
may feel the need to step into the public spotlight and
say "this is wrong!" and take an active opposition to
things in the world. Othertimes we may keep a lower
profile, and quietly help people in a unrecognized,
When we are in love, life is different. Everything
is seen and experienced in a new, different way. In a
black depression, the world darkens, and our lives are
again turned around. There are many qualities of
consciousness. Some are dark, negative, and destructive
in nature. Others are ennobling, uplifting, and worthy
of being sought after.
In order to experience a quality of consciousness,
we first have to have it within ourselves. We need to
have the seeds of a black depression, and an inner life
that nurtures them, in order for them to sprout forth
when outer circumstances push us in the right way. The
outer, though, is an expression of what is within, and
not the cause.
To approach the spiritual, we look within. We
change ourselves and the outer circumstances will adjust
themselves of their own accord, as past karmic
responsibilities are worked out and we are freed to
outwardly change in ways true to our new inner natures.
Inner changes do not automatically come by doing the
reverse, by piously adopting an outer lifestyle that is
untrue to what we feel in our hearts and minds. We
accomplish little when we grow our hair long, give up
material possessions, and try to become wandering holy
men. We still must effect changes to our inner natures,
changes that never required us to leave behind our
former homes and families. It is not necessary to visit
Tibet, to live in a beautiful desert retreat-center, to
fine-tune the purity of our physical bodies with an
exacting diet, nor to faithfully meditate from 3 to 7 am
for the balance of our lives! All these things are nice,
and helpful in their own way, but do not represent our
taking significant steps in the direction of the
What, then, is the spiritual consciousness? How
would we describe it? Granted, it cannot be conveyed by
merely talking about it, but we certainly can say
something. There is a feeling of being rooted in the
spiritual, in a loving embrace by the totality of life.
This feeling could be compared to the secure, firm grip
of the parachute straps that hold, envelop, and raise us
high above all, and that otherwise save us from
guaranteed death. This "holding up" is done by our
higher natures, on a continual basis, with or without
our awareness and recognition.
The biggest change in our lives is a new, firm
grasp of an inner reality, an inner change rather than
any particular outer event. We appreciate and experience
life differently, and we just wake up, one morning, and
notice that things in life are different. This change in
our lives comes quietly, gently, and it is rare for it
to come with violent, traumatic, explosive outer
circumstances. It is more akin to the gentle process of
waking up in the morning, rather than the painful
process of childbirth. We open our eyes to live in a
different way, and the world is a different place.
It is possible, depending upon how we present
ourselves to others, that we might be mistaken for
fanatics, zealots, cultists. They might believe we need
to be deprogrammed, brought back to normal, and taken
out of our "delusional" state. Were that to happen, we
would find our previous state as odd. Having lost
something, unable to recreate it within our
consciousness, we may picture it is unworthy in some
way. But this is "sour grapes," and we would have lost
something of incredible value.
Someone else, outside the experience, might
describe it in psychological terms, and use such words
as "inflation," from Jungian psychology. The state might
be described as one of being possessed by an archetype,
a form of psychological intoxication, a drunkenness on
the numinosity of archetypal materials that never
belonged in the personal consciousness. This is
psychological materialism, where nothing is real unless
it is interpreted in terms of the human personality, and
is yet another thing to unlearn, before getting at the
reality of the spiritual nature.
It is true that the personality can become deformed
in various ways if we try to do things from it that are
inappropriate for the personality. It is not true that
we must limit ourselves to only do things that are
appropriate activities for the personality. Rather, we
are learning to shift our center of consciousness to the
individuality, above the personality, a higher center of
consciousness. The personality, looking upwards,
experiences a sense of magic, of numinosity. Looking
downward, the personality experiences a sense of
temptation, of being drawn into corruption and self-
The personality can grow in one direction or the
other. But when we seek the spiritual, we're not talking
about staying in the personality, and growing it.
Instead, we're talking about leaving the personality,
and not having it as the seat of our consciousness
anymore. It functions, it exists as an form of our self-
expression, but we have become something deeper within.
When we have become rooted in the spiritual, and
awakened our spiritual-intellectual natures, we don't
take public opinion serious anymore. We are not
dependent on external validation, nor need a guru or
Theosophical Society or admiring peers to feel that we
have something real. (This is not to say that we don't
need Teachers, but that is an entirely different topic!)
We know with certainty that there is a spiritual reality
behind life, because we have a firm sense of its
presence and participation in our lives.
How do we experience this presence? It is as an
undertone, a background quality to everything that
happens, to everything that we experience. It starts
when we open our eyes in the morning, and lasts until
they shut at night. There are no dark, depressed moments
where we question it, because it is not a delusion, a
pretense, a facade that we have built up. This presence
is a real, a solid quality of our lives, not something
that we "are trying to do."
Consider an angry, explosive person. Little things
that happen during the day can tap into his reservoir of
anger and bring him to erupt in rage. This anger is a
content of his personality, a background quality that he
carries with him, thought it may not find itself
expressed in everything that he does. It colors his
consciousness and makes the world seem to him to be a
certain kind of place.
The spiritual is likewise a possible content of
consciousness. It can be alive and active, a quality
that readily rises to express itself in the actions of
our day-to-day lives.
Now consider a devotional person, someone with
considerable Bhakti energy. In his foreground
consciousness there may come periods of intense feeling
with incredible energy. But these waves of devotion are
expensive; they drain his life energies, and he finds
himself exhausted. He is left tired; the feelings quiet
down and go away; their effects can even disappear from
the activities of daily life until the next time for
This energy of love that he carries with himself
can remain, slightly-submerged, but still coloring his
life. We may be able to tell, to *feel* his devotional
energy when we meet him. As he carries this quality with
him, it is continually experienced as "background
consciousness," as compared to the "foreground
consciousness" of what he is doing at this particular
moment in time.
The background consciousness is the higher side,
and consists of the active talents, capabilities, types
of awareness that we have acquired and built up in this
lifetime. This is the results of our emanation of innate
abilities from previous lives, from our karmic treasury.
We go through life with this as a form of experience, of
awareness, of enjoyment of life, in addition to that
experience of the ephemeral, moment-to-moment activities
of the foreground consciousness.
The foreground consciousness is the more ephemeral.
It relates to the mayavic changes of physical life, the
extremely tiny portion of ourselves that finds
expression in the very lowest realm, the physical. The
background consciousness is a deeper part of ourselves,
that part of our natures that includes the totality of
ourselves in this lifetime. The background consciousness
is the "unmanifest" portion of the personality, that
part of it that watches in the silence and out of which
our activities spontaneously arise.
When our spiritual-intellectual natures are
awakened, there is a presence that hovers about us, deep
in the silence, acting almost as a "background deity."
There is a sense of anticipation, excitement,
unfulfilled promise to it. (Picture a child's feeling
the night before Christmas!) This feeling comes from our
being in touch with, from our having awakened a type of
consciousness in ourselves that goes beyond what is
possible to express. We have awakened in ourselves
something too grand to come out in Fifth Race Humanity,
on Globe D Earth, at this time in our evolution. Outer
circumstances do not permit its expression in the
moment-to-moment experience of life. It cannot yet reach
physical plane expression. But it can still be
experienced in the background consciousness; it still
can be richly enjoyed in the silence.
There is a sense of anticipation to this spiritual
faculty. We will enjoy it in its own place, on its own
terms, in the after-death experiences. There are some
experiences that are simply too high, too grand--simply
meant to be waited for, to be experienced in their own
The spiritual nature comes out in life as a living
presence in life. We know and feel it. It surrounds us.
It enfills us. It makes the world an entirely different
place for us. We do not need to periodically long for
it, to send out waves of desire, of Bhakti, of
aspiration to attain it. It is here. It is part of us.
We have it as a rock-solid part of our experience of
life. Our higher principles are awake and active, and
provide us with an enriched personal life.
When the highest in our constitution is active, it
does not come out in passion, in intensity of thought,
feeling, or action, but rather is felt for what it is,
*in its own right.* It is appreciated as an additional
quality behind all the rest, a quality that adds its own
unique contribution to our total experience.
It is not the clearest of psychical sight, the
sweetest of feelings, the holiest of aspiration or
desires, nor the highest of reason and intellectual
thought. It is just different, but important and
enriching in its own right. What is it? It's there, part
of our natures. Embrace it and just know.
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