Tuesday, 10 May 2016

"In Contemplation of Created Things..."

“In contemplation of created things...”

Today I was sitting in the beautiful Company Gardens in the centre of Cape Town, gazing in wonder at the lovely foliage, listening to the birds and watching the cute squirrels running around trying to persuade me to give them some nuts, when these wonderful words of the poet John Milton popped into my head.  He wrote them many years ago but in this age, so besotted by all that is materialistic, they are even more relevant.  In full, he wrote, “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.”

We seem to have become inured to the average scientist or atheist describing everything in material terms and refusing even to consider that life is more than just what registers on our five, very limited, physical senses.  We also seem to have accepted that war and conflict are inescapable factors of our lives on Earth.  Politicians seem powerless to resist the siren voices of the armaments industry, the military and the power mongers, who tell them, “Ours is the only way”.  Hatred is once again replacing tolerance and understanding.  We are so wrapped up in our day to day physical existences and in thrall to the ubiquitous and insidious news channels on TV, that even as Spiritualists we find it difficult to be still and do exactly what John Milton urges.

What would happen if we decided more often to contemplate created things?  For a start, we would find ourselves being much calmer because contemplation requires stillness on our part.  Next we would discover that in the stillness of contemplation, our auras would expand and consequently we would become more and more aware of what I like to call “the secret life of nature”.  That is the essential, spiritual side of the natural world.  As Spiritualists, we should know that everything in the physical universe is a poor duplicate of what exists in the spiritual universe.  Nothing physical exists that does not already have a spiritual counterpart. 

Why when our auras extend, do we become more aware of the spiritual side of nature?  Simply because our aura is part of our own spirit and expanding it automatically increases our awareness of hidden things.  This is why mediums need to practice extending their aura in order to link with those in the spiritual world wishing to communicate with loved ones remaining on Earth.  As our awareness grows, so we become conscious of the true beauty of the natural world.  We come to recognise the spiritual light which is an integral part of all living things, a light that only disappears at death.  This light interacts with the light of our own spirit and true spiritual love and light are exchanged between the natural object you are contemplating and you.  Thus can we be re-energised when feeling low or inspired to say and do things we previously considered were beyond us.

However, whilst such spiritual contemplation, is fine for we Spiritualists, John Milton’s words can and should be followed by the more materialistic and if they were, amazing transformations could take place.  Compare the creations of nature with those of humanity.  In nature one cannot escape the sense of wonder that, no matter what there is; beauty and order are present always.  Could the human mind, whilst in a physical body, design a leaf that is half as beautiful or as incredible as the real thing?  Not only do leaves possess beauty but they perform a vital task for the tree.  That they convert sun light to nutrients for the tree, through the action of chlorophyll borders on the magical.  Everything designed by nature, not only performs essential tasks impeccably but possesses an innate beauty.  Nowhere in nature does utility exist without beauty:  Even when leaves die and are discarded, their colours are so beautiful, they have inspired poets and lead each year to thousands of “leaf peepers” driving hundreds of miles to see the autumn colours:  If only that were so in the creations of humanity.

Scientists congratulate themselves on being able to clone sheep for instance.  They portray it as creating life in the test tube or laboratory.  Nonsense!  All they have done is to use their limited understanding of the laws of nature, designed by beings far superior to us, to create an offspring of the sheep in a different way.  The development process is no different from that which occurs in the womb.  If instead of trying to “play God”, scientists would seek to understand the spiritual basis of all life by examining the human mind more critically, their efforts would be of much greater long term benefit to us all.  They could make a start by accepting that the mind is not a physical part of the brain but is the reasoning part of our eternal, spirit selves.

Scientists are taking reluctant, but hesitant steps in the right direction at last, through the vehicle of quantum physics.  The trouble is their training precludes them from reaching the right conclusions.  I can’t help feeling, even when they establish through their quantum experiments, that several non-physical dimensions exist beyond the four physical ones we acknowledge, they will jump to the wrong conclusions.  Science has become far too specialised.  Consequently, we really do know more and more about less and less.  The secret of unravelling the spiritual nature of all life is to be found in generalism not specialism. 

Originally, science, art and religion were all part of “philosophy”, as they were in Milton’s day.  Thus a holistic approach was then the norm and although religion in particular, fell prey to the corrupting influence of power, there was a much greater acceptance then of the true fatherhood of God than there is today.  Many of us luxuriate in the physical benefits provided for us by scientific specialisation, whilst being uniquely ignorant of the presence of the power of the spirit in all things.  Nothing is more destructive.  Increasingly in our pampered luxury, so many of us unwittingly add fuel to the negative, all-consuming power of consumerism.  Consequently, generations can and are denied the opportunity to develop their spiritual natures properly whilst on Earth. Instead money and power become twin gods.

By persisting in the wrong-headed notion that life occurred by accident in the primordial mud, we blind ourselves to the facts.  Even were it true that the primordial mud gave rise to the first single celled examples of sentient life on Earth, this begs the question that inanimate life (mud for instance) is an aspect of life also.  It is similar to the arguments put forward for the “big bang” by astronomers.  They claim everything began with the big bang.  If that is the case, how come there was anything to go “bang” in the first place?  Far safer and more sensible to conclude as did that great philosopher from the spiritual world, Silver Birch, “I know of no beginnings, I know of no endings”.  As we examine the wonders of nature (or as William Cowper advised, “Go mark the matchless working of the power that shuts within the seed the future flower”) we cannot fail to be convinced of the power, majesty and ingenuity of the mind or minds that “planned this scale of beings.”  Accident indeed!  Rubbish!

Spiritualists accept the truism that nothing dies, especially human beings.  What happens on death is a change of form.  Scientists accept this in regard to matter but because to most of them, mind and spirit are figments of the imagination, they cannot and will not accept it in regard to life itself. How sad, and in relation to the growth in intolerance that seems to be an inescapable corollary of materialism, how deadly.  Give me Milton’s enlightened philosophy any day.         

© Lionel Owen 2016