The Polarity in Knowledge and Initiation
At the moment I am reading a nice book about different spiritual traditions, their ways of initiation and what they have in common, respectively what is separating them. It is striking that there is a polarity between those traditions and religions which guide their follows to the own experience of the great Spirit, independent if it is called God, cosmic consciousness, divine light, etc. and those religions which follow the idea to separate people from this divine experience. They prefer to proclaim that the normal human being is neither meant to experience God nor to understand creation. In contrary the human being needs guidance by the hierarchy of priests where only the highest leader gets some information from God. The first attitude can be named esoteric and also gnostic in the original sense of “knowing God” while the second attitude is exoteric and secular. We can say that we have here the polarity of true spirituality contra material power. Here we see the problem that not all human souls are ready for divine experiences and a higher knowledge which makes it necessary to offer guidance and orientation. But the question is if religion offers this in a positive, empowering way or in a negative, suppressing way. We can find examples for both attitudes.
The second problem deals with the absolute science or knowledge or initiation and all the relative systems, traditions and ways of initiation. Certainly there are many different systems of training and initiation and they all are rooted in a frame of culture, tradition and philosophy. This is normal. Such systems are built by diverse masters in a lineage who collected knowledge, worked with different methods and created a specific training with rituals and certain steps of initiation, etc. So we can say that a spiritual tradition is indeed a growing sum of experiences, insights and developments during its life time. This is similar to the growing and changing process of the materialistic sciences today. This is simply natural and a matter of the laws of creation. It is also good and useful to help the individual to make spiritual progress and higher experiences. We can say that a spiritual tradition is a vehicle which brings the seeker to a specific destination on his spiritual journey. The point is now that you cannot go beyond your tradition as long as you are integrated in its system. And only if you go beyond the relative systems of spiritual training you can find the absolute knowledge, the absolute and final reality. The single traditions or paths are aspects of the absolute while the absolute uses them as forms to express itself. Traditions and religions are the changing cloths of the absolute.
For this reason spiritual seekers and masters asked for initiation in many or all available traditions in former times and it is still practiced this way today. The Divine reflects itself in the whole diversity of traditions and not only in one. A complete understanding with a comprehensive initiation is the aim.
So we have the polarity between relative ways of initiation bound to culture, religion, time and location and the absolute knowledge which can only be studied after liberating yourself from your relative system. You need a certain level of spiritual growth to start with the absolute. Enlightenment and unity with God is not the end but only the beginning.
Then we have the problem or polarity of real initiation and pseudo initiation. In former times initiation was a question of maturity and each initiation has requested a specific maturity in a hierarchy of levels. Indeed it was quite simple, if the candidate wasn´t ready, he got no initiation. This means that the seeker on the path had to undergo specific exercises including a special life style, etc. to refine himself and to develop necessary skills to be able to make the corresponding experiences in the initiation. So initiation was the situation where the long preparation found its completion in a higher experience, enlightenment and empowerment together with a new position in the tradition including new duties.
As you can see, this original way of initiating a mature soul into a higher step in his spiritual development was completely based on practice. Without practice there is no progress and without progress there is not the requested maturity given for a successful initiation. And besides the mature aspirant, the initiation also requests a true spiritual master who is able to pass on enlightenment on different levels, empowerment (skills) and higher knowledge. This means that if a master was lacking of enlightenment, refinement, etc. he was not able to offer a real initiation.
Here we come to a problem which is well-known today. In many secret societies we have a lot of masters of different degrees with wonderful titles but in main they are no real initiates. They have studied the books of their tradition and they did initiations on a level of a role-playing. The main problem here is that the real initiates vanished and that the followers focused only on intellectual studies without real practice. And what happens in such a situation? People in such societies do not follow higher ideals but put their egos into the center of their work. They are servants of their egos by using the “spiritual teachings” of their tradition. And this has great effects.
There is a big difference when a refined, mature and enlightened soul says “I am God!” to a selfish person proclaiming the same.
Indeed we suffer today from too many ordinary people who think that they are gods and who behave this way by putting their inflated egos over the needs of the rest of mankind. This brings a lot of suffering.
In conclusion it is useful to understand all these polarities to know your own position and to make the right choice of your destination. We have to develop the power of Viveka, the power to differentiate between light and darkness.
Today we have the great fortune that all spiritual traditions have opened up to public, so that everyone can choose his path freely. And we have the great luck that one master who has gone beyond all traditions unveiled the absolute knowledge, the pure essence and core of all spiritual teachings. This allows the seeker to study it directly without the vessel of a certain tradition or culture.
At last I want to point at the risk to lose yourself in the diversity of relative teachings, ideas, opinions, teachers, half-truths, misunderstandings, etc. There is simply no necessity to study all and everything. Indeed it is important today to save precious time and to focus only on high quality, on those things which help you to make real progress in acceptable time. The teachings of the absolute offer the keys to understand all relative teachings and to make the best choice.
When I imagine someone who gets entrapped by a secret society and their ego-addressed offers, going through countless pseudo-initiations, studying stuff he does not understand only to inflate his ego…What a waste of precious time. Blessed is the one who has Viveka and follows directly the light, making real progress.
But at last it all depends on what you have asked for. You always get only the answers to your questions.