Read an Excerpt
Working with Oneness
By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The Golden Sufi CenterCopyright © 2007 The Golden Sufi Center
All rights reserved.
Global Energy Patterns
Look close: all is He —
But He is manifest through me.
THE PLANET AS AN ENERGY STRUCTURE
The energy structure of the planet is changing. It is becoming more dynamic and fluid, more visible and accessible. Humanity is now being given the opportunity to relate directly with this energy structure and participate in a shift from a consciousness defined through separation and differentiation to a consciousness of oneness. This is the next step in our evolution, and it will influence every level of life on this planet.
Energy underlies all life, flows in certain patterns, along specific paths, affecting and connecting matter and consciousness alike. How and where energy flows in part determines how life manifests in this world. As the energy patterns of the planet change, so too will the patterns and possibilities of creation.
The spiritual transformation of an individual awakens new centers of energy for that person. The same is true of the whole of humanity and the planet. At each stage of evolution humanity is given more access to the energy of the planet. In the past few centuries we have focused on the physical energy of fossil fuels, and work with this energy has dominated our social development. But this focus on the physical is now shifting and we are being given access to a different level of energy.
The new energy that is becoming available to us is an energy of oneness that can help us live our true role in relation to the planet, a role of stewardship based on conscious interconnectedness. Changes in the energy structure of the planet and the availability of this new energy of oneness are aspects of the next stage in our collective and individual evolution, a stage that allows a shift from isolation and separation into oneness and communion with all creation.
In order to take this step we must abandon our conditioned ways of perceiving and relating to matter, and acknowledge the existence of these energy patterns that form part of the underlying structure of life. We have to stop experiencing the world as a purely physical entity, separate and distinct from ourselves, and relate to it as a flow of energy that by its nature includes us. Particle physics asserts an image of matter as a dynamic energy field, a dancing flow of energy patterns that coalesce into physical form. If we accept this image of matter we will be freed from a static, defined world in which only material objects have substance, and be drawn into a more fluid, dynamic, and inclusive relationship with life.
Our culture has not yet stepped into this paradigm. We still regard life as composed of dense material objects rather than an interflow of energy. We are still living in a nineteenth-century universe, rather than embracing the consciousness offered by our own scientific revolution. The science that drew us out of the symbolic world of the Middle Ages has moved beyond the familiar image of a defined physical universe governed by Newtonian physics.
We continue to identify our planet as simply a physical sphere spinning in space, part of a solar system. But this is only the viewpoint posited by a science fathered by Galileo. We see the world through the glasses of scientific, rational materialism, not recognizing that this is just a projected image of our planet, an image that our science has already moved beyond. Other eras have perceived the world through different glasses: as a living, sacred being, our mother the earth, or as a part of a symbolic universe in which mankind played its central role in the "great chain of being." As cultures change and evolve, so they offer a different perspective on life and the planet.
We can hardly begin to imagine the possibilities born from a shift away from a materialistic view of reality to a more dynamic understanding of life as energy. But if we look around us we can see signs that we are beginning to recognize and relate to life through the energy patterns that underlie it.
The internet and other means of global communication are examples. Opportunities for global communication and information exchange are increasing at this time in part due to our growing capacity to align our individual consciousness with the patterns of energy that flow throughout the planet. Global communication is in itself the activation of a global energy pattern. Additionally, multinational corporations are unknowingly accessing energy patterns and using them to increase the range and speed of their businesses. In Joseph Campbell's words, "money is congealed energy," and the way the global flow of money enables material goods to move around the world at greatest profit is a direct use of global energy patterns.
Because these energy patterns are most accessible in the midst of life, people working in business and commerce unknowingly have the most immediate access to them. Also, successful businessmen often have an intuitive understanding of how money works, how it flows and constellates. They can instinctively tune into and utilize the way the energy of money follows global energy patterns. The use of computers and the internet to assimilate and move information as well as money in an ever-expanding network is also increasing the potency of corporations and their ability to tap into these underlying energy patterns. The possibilities for personal gain are enormous, and this is what drives most new ventures.
However, the higher purpose of giving human beings conscious access to the energy structure of the planet is not to produce global corporations of vast wealth and power. Having money, power, and physical resources in the control of a few individuals or corporations (however "global") works against the very nature of the flow of energy, which needs to be continually moving rather than be caught in any fixed configuration. If the energy structure becomes static or crystallized, then the possibilities for new life cease.
FRIENDS OF GOD
Since the very beginning of humanity there have been spiritual masters who have kept watch on the world and for the world. These masters and their disciples have worked to keep humanity aligned with the currents of energy, of love and wisdom, that come from the inner planes. These masters also work to keep the energy flowing and balanced, in accordance with the need of the time and the laws of the inner world. In the Sufi tradition there is a spiritual hierarchy of the awliyâ (Friends of God), which consists of a fixed number of evolved beings, without whom the existence and well-being of the world cannot be maintained. At the top of the hierarchy stands the pole (qutb), "the Master of the Friends of God," who is the axis around whom the exterior and interior universe turns. Under the pole come seven pegs, below which come the forty successors (al-abdâl). If one of these Friends of God dies another is waiting to take his place, so that the number is maintained.
Traditionally the Friends of God work in hiding, veiled from the world. This enables them to continue their work without the disturbance that recognition could bring. Ibn 'Arabî, the great thirteenth-century Sufi master, tells the story of when he was in Fez. There he met a Sufi called al-Ashall (literally "the withered" because he had a withered hand). Ibn 'Arabî had been in his company a number of times without knowing his spiritual station, until he had a vision in which it was revealed to him that al-Ashall was the pole of the time. The next day he was invited to someone's garden to meet with a group of Sufis, among them al-Ashall. Nobody talked to this man, who was a foreigner. But during the conversation the pole came to be mentioned, and Ibn 'Arabî said, '"My brothers I am going to tell you some amazing things about the pole of your time." He then turned towards the man who during his sleep had been shown to him by God to be the pole. ... This man said to Ibn 'Arabî, "Say what God has revealed to you, but do not reveal his identity!"'
The Friends of God have been working with the energy structure of the planet for centuries, but have kept this knowledge hidden, as it could easily be misused. These masters of love and wisdom are now working to help humanity align with the changes that are currently taking place, changes that begin first on the inner planes before they come into manifestation. Energy patterns are becoming accessible to consciousness, and humanity needs to know how to use this energy for spiritual benefit rather than just material gain.
In the past few decades spiritual teachings that used to be known only to initiates have been given to the world. This has helped to create an environment receptive to the changes that are about to take place. Many sincere spiritual practitioners have used this knowledge to work on themselves and thus become inwardly receptive to what is being given. Many spiritual techniques that have been made available are essentially a process of purification that helps the individual become aligned with her true nature. This is a necessary first step in the process of spiritual awakening. We need to be aligned with our real Self in order to manifest the higher destiny that belongs to the soul. The real work begins only when we are aligned with our essential nature, because it is only then that the higher energies of the inner world can manifest without being distorted.
Those who have made the step away from their ego-self into the faster-spinning vortex of their real Self are now needed to work for humanity. The work that needs to be done cannot be performed by just the few Friends of God and their disciples. The forces of materialism are so powerful and dense that on their own, the masters of wisdom cannot pierce through. They need the help of all those who carry a commitment to humanity within their hearts. The inner wisdom of the Self, a wisdom of love and unity, needs to be brought down to a lower plane of manifestation. This requires a collective spiritual effort.
ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE
In the past an individual had to go through many levels of initiation before he was allowed to help with the spiritual work for humanity. The training was long and arduous, and many failed to reach the required degree of purity and selflessness. Although no one was excluded, many slipped by the wayside, and their path remained within the sphere of individual development. This has changed. Instructions have been given by those who look after the destiny of humanity to allow anyone who is sincere to have access to the secrets of initiation, to be given an understanding of the energy structure of the world, in order to help in this time of transition.
Of course there is the danger that this knowledge will be misused, that even sincere seekers will be misled by the subtle intrigues of the ego and its desires. This does not matter. This danger has already been taken into account by those who look out for humanity. We are being given the opportunity to take the next step in our development as human beings, to take more responsibility for ourself and our planet.
True spiritual work is always an individual effort, and this will not change. Just as true maturity is an individual step, so is spiritual evolution. Only as individuals standing on our own feet can we make a valid contribution to the collective. Otherwise we remain caught in the collective and its patterns of co-dependency that block any real change or development. Taking responsibility for our inner and outer life is necessary if we are to participate creatively in the life of the whole.
The knowledge that is being made available will necessarily confront us with our own inadequacies and a pull to retreat into the familiar patterns of the past. For example, many spiritual seekers are identified with the notion of a spiritual journey that needs to be completed, an inner work that needs to be accomplished. It is not easy to step aside from such long-held beliefs, particularly those that engender spiritual well-being. Those spiritual practitioners who have achieved some degree of spiritual position which supports them will have the most to lose. The spiritual security that comes from having been on a path or engaged in spiritual activities for a number of years can also be a hindrance to change.
Christ tells a story about the owner of a vineyard who went out in the early morning to hire some men, agreeing to pay them a penny for a day's work. Then three hours later the owner went to the marketplace and hired some more men, offering to pay them what was right. He did the same at noon and at three in the afternoon. Then, an hour before sunset, he went again to the marketplace, and finding others idle, offered them work in his vineyard. At the end of the day he told his steward to pay each man a penny for his work, beginning with those who were hired last. When each was paid a penny, those who had worked from the early morning complained that those who had just been working one hour before sunset were paid the same as those who had worked all day. But the owner answered, saying that he had given them what he had promised. They should take their penny and go, and he would give to the last the same as to the first.
Each of those who works in the vineyard of the Lord is given a penny, a symbol of his own wholeness. This is the gift for spiritual work: we are given ourselves. It is given to all those who participate. Those who have worked since dawn and "borne the heat and burden of the day" may complain, but they do not understand that to participate in the work of the whole for even an instant is to be given access to one's own wholeness. This is the experience that is now being offered to all who are drawn into the sphere of spiritual life. As a culture we are so identified with patterns of hierarchy and their levels of exclusion that we overlook the primary truth that the dimension of oneness is all-inclusive. The moment we turn our focus away from our own ego-self and participate in the work of the whole, we step into the circle of our own wholeness. There are no levels of initiation: one is either in or out. And someone who has just begun on the path is given as much access as someone who has been engaged in spiritual practice for many years.
THE GIFT OF WHOLENESS
Human beings have a deep hunger to regain a conscious connection with their own wholeness. We are collectively tired of the forces that isolate us within our ego-oriented life, that offer us only a fragmented sense of our self. We long to regain our wholeness and natural sense of being. And yet as a culture we seem to have lost our way. As we move faster and faster down the track of self-absorption, we encounter more feelings of inadequacy. We have lost touch with the simplicity of being and sadly look to material wealth to fill this void. Even spiritual seekers are only too often preoccupied with achieving, developing, becoming something other than what they are. With more and more effort we chase the illusive image of what we think we need.
Wholeness is always present. If we do not know that our own wholeness is present, we won't recognize it or open to it when it is offered. Wholeness can be difficult to recognize because it is complete; it does not function through comparison, through the opposition of light and dark. It is difficult to recognize wholeness through our ordinary modes of perception, by defining it against what it is not.
Wholeness is so lacking in all the attributes of success and achievement that we do not value it. It is so completely different from the hierarchical power structures that have dominated our collective landscape for so long that we do not know how to assess it. It does not play power games or try to achieve anything. And wholeness does not give position or preference. Nobody is higher up the ladder, whether this ladder is of worldly success or spiritual achievement. Rather each person is complete in herself, and in her natural sense of completeness is able to participate fully in the life of the whole.
Just to recognize that this wholeness is present is the first step; then we must realize that it is given, that we do not have to achieve it. The only requirement is to leave behind the patterns of conditioning that tie us to hierarchical models of achievement and failure. This is done by admitting that we are tired of this model, tired of the demands of success, exhausted by the struggles of failure. We are so conditioned by the idea that we have to struggle for what we want that it can be revolutionary to realize that we are being given something that only requires our acceptance and participation.
Before, we had to work to regain our wholeness: we had to turn inward, meditate, purify ourselves, do battle with the ego and patterns of conditioning. Now our wholeness is being given to us without restriction. No initiation is needed; there are no levels to be achieved. A quality of oneness is being made freely available to humanity. We just have to accept the gift.
What had been hidden within us, accessible only to those who made the inner journey, is now being made visible. The oneness that is our essential nature is being revealed. The work of those committed in service is to make this known so people can recognize what they are being given and make use of this opportunity. We need to know that a consciousness of oneness is present, not as a distant promise or an abstract idea, but as a reality that exists within and around us. What had been a secret, accessible only to initiates, is being made available to everyone.
Excerpted from Working with Oneness by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Copyright © 2007 The Golden Sufi Center. Excerpted by permission of The Golden Sufi Center.
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