Divide and be Conquered

It’s a funny thing, division – its principles apply to many aspects of our lives. We can cut something up, but its original ‘wholeness’ persists in ways we may never have considered.

Wholeness as a concept is worth some thought. Can we step back and consider why we think something is whole? Is it simply that ‘it works’ – in the way that a car works because all the pieces are in the correct working order and create a functioning machine?

Humanity has an innate skill in its ability to decide something is whole. Maturity teaches us that our individual life’s learning leads to a degree of wisdom. This is reflected in what we admire. Music is a good example of this. If we are considered person, whose state of mind is calm and searches for insights into the world and how it impacts us, then we will seek out music that – in its wholeness – reflects this. If we are a younger or less mature person, our state of agitation or angst might be reflected in a love for a more discordant style, whose essence is rebellious… or even violent.

The songs or instrumental tracks we seek out will have a certain resonance with how we feel about life, and , importantly, how we choose to extend our experience. In this way our ‘comfort level of wholeness’ will guide how we allow experience to make our life ‘bigger’.

Experience is, potentially, so vivid that, if we have the means, we may end up rejecting it and turning away from the new. Most adults do this to some degree; indeed, we may consider society’s measure of maturity to be the ability to throw a kind of ‘shield’ in front of the stream of life experience that would otherwise come at us – like a gale-force wind.

In so doing, we are saying to the universe ‘I have enough. I’ve learnt what I need to, I don’t want to go back into that fearful place where what I have stored up as ‘me’ can be threatened by change…’

And then we stop and look at that last sentiment: ‘threatened by change’.

It’s a frightening moment in itself. Are we to cast off the defences we have constructed over a mature lifetime? We will, at the end of our lives, go through an enormous change, as our physical mechanisms lose their ability to stabilise the flow of apparently chaotic universe coming at us.

Yet, people report seeing great peace on the faces of those loved ones they have partly accompanied on that journey. I have watched a small number of people die, and seen nothing but peace in that passing.

But, such considerations are for the end of our lives. What about the catastrophes that seem to triumph against our values, against what we call our civilisation? There is a widespread feeling that our beloved planet is beset by these from both political and environmental sources. New super-powers are arising, often with very different value systems to those we respect in the so-called West. Even within our societies, there is a renewed arising of populism, which seeks to throw away that which is established, simply because it is so.

I suspect it had always been that way; that we have lived through an unparalleled period of post-war prosperity and stability. Sadly, the lessons of the major wars of the past one hundred years seem to count for nothing within whole sections of our world. A historian friend once said to me: ‘When you forget about the real horror of societal chaos, it is free to live again…’

It may be that our coming struggle with what we are doing to the natural systems – wholeness – of the Earth are a kind of final maturing of the being and consciousness of its dominant life form. But, it is hard to see how our present political systems would permit the needed changes.

Perhaps even this is wrong. Maybe when what seems like self-evident goodness is swept away it is because it has been passed on as learning and opinion and not as experience. But, how could we pass on experience? It is impossible – and therefore eternally transient and changing. Its value is to the individual who collects it, consciously – who seeks it out. When enough such people combine their selfless desires and experience, a new civilisation is born.

When the dams break we may face our greatest test; and it may not be further resistance, but ‘going with the flow’ and being a true ‘elder’ in a world that will desperately be seeking a living memory of the former wholeness – even though the age may need a new one… It’s own.

It is a vast wheel – as depicted in the sacred literature of the ancient ones. The only bit of it we are in control of is our refection of that whole, filtered by the lenses of perception we have established from what has happened to us.

In that there is a great key to our lives. And, within the wholeness of our humanity may lie much deeper answers than we have encountered before.

In our forthcoming weekend workshop: The Keys of Heaven – In the footsteps of St Cedd, 6-8 December, we will be considering these deepest of questions from the perspective of the spiritual psychology of mankind, and its ability to interact with our fate. A few places are still available.

©Stephen Tanham

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching school of modern mysticism that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.

The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.

Steve’s personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com.

6 Replies to “Divide and be Conquered”

  1. I’ve been contemplating this same movement and our potential place in it as older, experienced and maturing persons. It’s at once daunting and exciting to think of the value that wisdom can bring in what appears to be a coming upheaval of nearly everything natural and societal.
    I, however, see my personal maturing as the ability to embrace and welcome change rather than shying away from it. I do see your point about preferring stability, and I especially appreciate your correlation to chosen musical styles. I can see how that has played out over my lifetime. But I see wisdom and maturity as a constant purposeful movement to correlate memories and experiences to bring forward the knowledge gleaned and help integrate it into the currents of change in the present.
    I’m highly concerned at the type of digital ‘experience’ that takes up so much of many people’s time (including my own sometimes) presently. There is a tendency to rely on secondhand information instead of seeking actual new experience.
    It’s one of the reasons I appreciate blogs because sometimes the comments and ensuing discussion add a level to the mere information bits parade.
    Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sheri. Only so much can be ‘touched on’ in a short blog. The important thing to glimpse is the edge of a spiritual science which gives a new perspective on the personal past. Its a big subject… but the essence of it is the redevelopment of the ego, which is necessary but clings to what it has extracted from life and grasped as ‘it’s own’ rather than seeing it as a continuum of loving life. You have my email and we can chat on this as much as you wish. Steve

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  3. I wonder how many cultures and peoples of the world have stood back and questioned these issues, and then I often wonder why nothing seems to have changed in the way mankind seems to truly stumble forward, not realizing the value of things staying as they were as much as possible. We have, instead of moving forward together, trying to find new resources for fuel, new resources for food, and for other things we use and seem to need to survive, we stumble on, using up precious resources, and in the process, we kill off or find ways to shorten the lives of so many things on this earth that I believe will be the ultimate loss that will end life here on earth as we know it. And is this a result of division or multiplication? Mankind always seems to seek outside what is his land, his property, to add to it instead of finding new ways to create it such that it can produce what he needs. He seeks from the desire to profit financially rather than to profit not only for healthier living for himself and his tribe and family, but to increase the length and quality of life of this earth. I am not quite sure why this is except for a sort of short-sightedness, or perhaps it is greed. This is a question to which I am not certain there is a correct response.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many issues there, Anne. It’s difficult to see a single response. As mystics, our central principle is that we are not separated from the ‘out there’. This means that our responsibilities are to what we know we can affect. There are depths to this that need to be seen and felt rather than described…

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