Transpersonal Activity versus Mediumship - 4
A definite contact between Pleroma beings and creative or transformative persons or groups is a vertical relationship, but so is the relationship between the spiritual trinity within the total field of selfhood and the physical brain, nerves, and muscles of a particular individual. The latter is the case, however, only if (a very important "if"!) the person's higher mind is adequately formed. Only then can it act as an instrumentality for transmission — as a symbolic lens condensing and transmitting the intentional activity of the spiritual constituents of the total human being.
Such a total human being, however, is not merely a "person." Personhood is only one aspect of total selfhood. So is the sexual polarity of the body. Personhood refers to culture, gender to biological sexual differentiation. Therefore, a creative human being should be called neither "he" nor "she," neither English nor Russian. Yet the current of creative, transformative, or healing activity emanating from the spiritual trinity has to flow "down," as it were, through the culture-conditioned mind and the sexually differentiated physical body. During the passage, the creative current acquires secondary characteristics. In many instances, these conflict with, deviate, or impair the integrity of the archetypal purpose giving form to whatever the creative-transformative current was to convey, exteriorize, and express.
When this happens — and it presumably always happens to some degree — self-expression is ambiguous or ambivalent. Indeed the prefix self may refer only to the level of personhood, to the culturally determined contents of the person's feelings and mind. In this case the character of creativity is only personal, and even healing (though perhaps called "spiritual") may only release some of the healer's own vitality. Then the relationship between the healer, creative artist, or performer and the people he or she affects is horizontal. It is a cultural exchange, occurring only at the cultural level — the exchange of a product and perhaps money.
Indeed, today most works of art, music, and literature are cultural products, not true creations. When many people seek "creative self-expression," they do so to compensate for their unsatisfying, disharmonic, nonfunctional and embittering social, business and cultural lives; so also in many instances are their biological-sexual experiences traumatized by unnatural family relationships and waves of fashion. This, however, always occurs during the period of a culture's disintegration. It is particularly disturbing and dysfunctional today because the panhuman evolutionary drive demands a transference of biological energies to the personal level — or at least gives biological (especially sexual) impulses an ambiguous character which is both "personal" and determined by collective fashions.
For an activity to be transpersonal in any meaningful sense, its source must be beyond the level of personhood. The creative current is transpersonal, because it flows through the person, using the materials made available by the culture. A spiritual power acts as carrier of an archetypal idea seeking adequate form through the mental processes of a creative, individualized person, whose physical body can accurately, effectively, and convincingly exteriorize what the mind has formed or formulated. Thus four factors are involved, and none can be omitted from a truly transpersonal process or vertical relationship.
A transpersonal activity usually requires the ability to act positively and effectively as a person amidst other persons, thus in terms of horizontal relationships. Such an ability demonstrates the existence of adequately formed instrumentalities of mind and will and a relatively autonomous approach to life. Nevertheless, the person's activity, thinking, and feeling is transpersonal only when these instrumentalities are placed at the service of processes operating at a higher, more inclusive level of being.
At the service — this is the essential key to the true meaning of hierarchical order and transpersonal action. Yet in our self-consciously and indiscriminately egalitarian society, the word service has negative connotations unless applied to the maintenance and repair of machines or to "self-service." No one wants to be a servant any longer, because service implies a difference of levels, a vertical relationship between two classes of people, and some kind of hierarchical structure. But if all persons are equal to all others, without any legitimate distinctions, interpersonal relationships are always horizontal.
Several interrelated persons constitute a group or community in which the persons are expected to act positively and responsibly to further the group's decisions and aims. Yet even a wholehearted devotion to the group's purpose is not considered "service," because each member is supposed to have actively and equally participated in the generation and formulation of this purpose which — it is believed — did not exist prior to the deliberation of the group. If the purpose is believed to have existed before-hand, it was only as an unformulated answer to a collective need or desire, probably one of several possible answers.
From a holarchic point of view, any meaningful and valid collective need already has an archetypal answer. The answer is not only potential but based on planetary or cosmic principles of organization which need only (a big "only"!) to be brought to a particular focus to fit an existing situation or one soon to develop. The focalizing process requires a transpersonal agent who is self-established, self-reliant, and mentally, emotionally, and dynamically effective at the level of culture and personhood. A group can act as such an agent, but one individual in the group usually is the "inspirited" focus for the transpersonal transmission of the archetypal ideal. Nevertheless, the interaction of two, three, or more minds may be needed to clarify the need of the larger community (or of mankind as a whole) and to formulate the words (even initially the collective "feeling") of the answer to it.
The performer of any truly transpersonal act should be aware (at least during or immediately after the performance) that a superior reality beyond his or her normal personal self is seeking an "actor" to play a part required in a larger system of activities. Thus a religiously conditioned person aspiring to transpersonal agenthood may say to the God of his or her inner life, "Thy will be done, not mine." But this God may well be only a word or image needed to condense, unify, and personalize everything transcending the everyday realities of personhood, matter, and life. This all-purpose condensation may obscure the existence of levels of being which actually can be reached by human efforts or (I must add) from which a person may fall if the pull of negative cultural or personal forces proves overwhelming.
It seems particularly difficult for intellectuals and scientists, but also for most other persons, to accept the idea that planetary beings might exist and operate at a level of consciousness and activity as superior to our present-day sociocultural modes of living and thinking-feeling as a person like Goethe or Edison is superior to a primitive biological organism. Most human beings lack a cosmic kind of imagination. They reduce the cosmos — the greatest whole of existence we can speak of — to a mass of matter and modes of energy similar to those their senses perceive. What a pathetically narrow reductionism! Yet minds still close to the compulsive level of instincts ruled by the requirements of biological functions seem to need such a reductionism to feel secure. This need for biological security and personal comfort and happiness still dominates the consciousness and relationships of the immense majority of human beings, even those claiming the status and privilege of individualized and autonomous selfhood.
Thus, before the majority of human beings can even barely begin to adequately understand and assent to being components of the planetary greater whole in which we all "live, move and have our being," many intermediate steps — transitional phases — are required.
Persons determined to free themselves from the binding pressures of biological drives often avail themselves of "occult" religious disciplines such as asceticism and certain yogic practices. Other modes of yoga and meditation are used in attempts to control the unsteady protean activity of the mind; but the context in which they are used often retains the sociocultural and religious limitations of the mother-culture and the language that had formed the mind. A still more radical process of transformation eventually has to be experienced if the Pleroma level of being — which includes not only consciousness but also activity — is to be reached. This process has been symbolized as "the Path." It is often called "the Path of discipleship" to indicate that successful completion of the process requires the interaction of the individual person "walking" on the Path and a Pleroma being — thus a linking of two fundamentally different levels. The divine must "descend" to meet the "ascending" human being. There must be interrelationship, nay more, an interpenetration of minds, as well as exact attunement of the centralizing powers operating as "selfhood" — individual selfhood and pleromatic selfhood.
The process inevitably is arduous and long. At any step along the way it may backfire or abort, even up to the last moment before the consummation of the "divine Marriage." This consummation implies Crucifixion: the transmutation of root-power into seed-power. The seed is set free and falls to the ground filled with the humus of the decaying failures of past subcycles — a "three-day" descent into hell. Then the resurrection.
Symbols, of course; but all that transcends personhood and the individualized experience of a culture-built mind must be evoked by symbols that are the harvest of collective human experiences at the levels of culture, personhood, and life. Every step a human being takes on his or her evolutionary journey has to be illumined by symbols, which at the level of culture take the form of myths and rites of passage.
Our society, alas, has largely forgotten the use, or at least the deeper meanings, of rites of passage even during normal processes of the growth, maturation, and disintegration of the biological and sociocultural human being. Organic growth always implies phases of transition — passages from one state to another. An end becomes a new beginning, and to begin without any understanding of what is being initiated condemns the opening phases of the new process to spiritual barrenness and mental confusion. Because modern individualistic and materialistic society has lost the sense of the importance of biological and cultural rites of passage, it cannot easily grasp the meaning of a transcendent Path of total metamorphosis which involves a series of graded steps and difficult, often crucial, transitions. Indeed this society operates in conditions of spiritual barrenness and mental confusion, even though powerful ferments of transformation and metamorphic pressures are increasingly active.
To assist such an activity ever so little by trying to elucidate what is today at stake and the deeper meaning of the impending transitions — this is the purpose this book is meant to serve. The future alone will reveal to what extent the writing of it can be interpreted as transpersonal service.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1983 by Dane Rudhyar
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