Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The Return Home
THE RETURN HOME
Fate, instead of being an anonymous force of blind coincidence that poses a threat to mankind, now gradually reveals to the seeker its innermost law: fate is the authority which ensures that the individual follows his prescribed path. Thus the supposed enemy becomes a partner whose task is to make sure that our own inertia does not prevent our evolution. The more a person refuses to resolve particular problems in a spirit of learning and the more he puts up a resistance against fate, the more he will attract the negative aspect of fate, namely suffering.
Suffering is the friction which arises because of the discrepancy between the individual's true, prescribed path and the direction that he happens to be following at the time. Suffering only becomes superfluous when we make the effort constantly to increase our understanding of our own path and voluntarily to conform to it. Only the person who knows how to subordinate himself to superior law will cease to experience that law in the form of compulsion. Total freedom only comes to the individual who fits into the order of the cosmos and merges with its law. In order to do this, however, it is necessary to overcome the ego's power-drive. The will to power is man's greatest enemy – an enemy that is continually devising more subtle disguises for itself.
The opposite pole to power is humility or love. On all levels of being it is love alone that can overcome the polarity between the I and the not-I. It is only the power of love that can change the lower into the higher and thus bring about a genuine transmutation. Struggle always engenders struggle, hate engenders hate, pressure engenders pressure. Love teaches us that the weak are the truly strong and the humble are the truly powerful.
This is the message conveyed by the eleventh, and central card of the Tarot trumps. It is entitled Strength and depicts a gentle-looking woman, garlanded with roses, who with her bare hands is holding open the mouth of a fierce lion. This card symbolizes the strength and power of love, which cannot be conquered by any other force in the world.
Anyone who has learned to realize the great power of service and humility has already made a great step on his path. Love seeks to overcome polarity and contrast and to lead man back into the unity of consciousness which he once relinquished through the original Fall.
In Paradise man was an androgynous being who still lived in a perfect state of unity. But he followed the temptings of the serpent out of desire for knowledge of good and evil. He separated himself from unity – and hence he now knows what is good and what is evil.
This knowledge became a poison to him, which is why it is also knowledge alone that can be his medicine – for similia similibus curantur, “like cures like”. Man is ailing from the disease of polarity and hopes for a cure. To be ill is to be human. Illness is man's opportunity, for it is only because he is ill that he is capable of being made whole – and made holy. Illness is the Fall in microcosm and is always a disunion with god. Healing is reconciliation with God. All external healing measures can never provide but the mere formal conditions for this event.
Illness and suffering should not therefore be seen as unwelcome disturbances in our lives, to be avoided s far as possible. Rather, they are the preliminary steps to liberation, which must be lived through and endured if we are to find light in the depths. Illness has its impersonal aspect, which we call original sin, and its personal aspect, which we call karma.
Living consciously means trying to redeem and cancel more and more of our karma, without at the same time incurring more karmic debt. The point where the personal and impersonal aspects of guilt meet is where illness turns into healing.
Not until we are prepared to assume full responsibility for everything that we experience and that happens to us do we discover the meaningfulness of life. The sickness of our age is meaninglessness, which has uprooted man from the cosmos. This lack of meaning is the price that humanity has paid for the attempt to give up responsibility. But the signs of the times indicate that this sickness is turning itself into healing, for increasing numbers of people are setting forth on the quest for meaning.
He who is prepared to assume full responsibility for his fate has the experience of being integrated into the universal order and loses all fear, for he has rediscovered his link with the primal source. This link alone is what constitutes true re-ligio. Only by knowing his origin can man recognize his goal. This goal is completeness. Completeness is the expression of unity. Unity is what we call God.