Friday 21 January 2022

"Training the mind" - double-edged effect at best, and preventive of Final Participation

The Romantic will always come-up against the fact that for most of the time he is mundane. Of course, life and (especially) surrounding people are often a real drag upon any aspirations to Higher Consciousness. 

After all, our world is built upon assumptions of anti-God, anti-spirit materialism - and when we are engaged with the world, our minds are entrained to this pervasive mundanity. 

Yet, even with as near a perfect 'environment' as this mortal world offers; the Higher Consciousness of intuition/ heart-thinking- mysticism that is desired sought by Romanticism; is always an intermittent state - and often disappointingly infrequent.

Indeed, some Romantics have ended-up being more distressed by the evanescence of Higher Consciousness, than encouraged by the occurrence of such states. 

Especially; if one is aiming at Final Participation as the goal of consciousness - the destined and necessary stage in human evolutionary development - then there are neither methods nor training to achieve it. 

It is tempting, indeed usual, for serious Romantics to try and escape this - apparently - unsatisfactory situation of endemic failure, by some or another method of 'training the mind'. 

This is what lies behind the grades of initiation beloved by some esoteric societies, the prolonged and daily practice of meditation; and external aids such as ritual, script, music, architecture.  

There seems little doubt that these are at least somewhat effective in training the mind; the question is: what is the effect of such training? 

My distinct impression is that all methods of training the mind that are aimed at Higher Consciousness will fail. 

Either they will just 'not work', will fail to achieve anything sufficiently powerful and lasting to make a significant different to the problem of mortal life; or else (more insidiously) they will succeed in imposing a System upon thinking. 

And this System will either become unconscious and habitual, thereby subjecting thinking to uncontrolled lower consciousness (while terming this state 'higher'). This would apply to Jungian-derived methods; based on lucid dreamlike trances; and also to meditation practices that aims to eradicate 'the self' or 'ego' or discard 'thinking' itself. 

Or else, it will subject thinking to the conscious will, yet this conscious will is merely ordinary mundane consciousness - and subject to the external influences of mundane consciousness. This would apply to the types of meditation that focus on training concentration, imagination and 'visualization' - such as those of ritual magic societies and Steiner's Anthroposophical 'exercises'. 

The apparent 'success' of training may generate increased gratification in life (make people 'feel better' in some way) - but do not achieve the objective of Final Participation.

Both the System and the training in 'concentration' may be effective in producing change - but they are not effective in encouraging Final Participation. And, in failing, they lead to that contamination of genuine insight and achievement with confident error and vast delusion which has been so characteristic of those who aim at Higher Consciousness. 

The limitation is a consequence of Final Participation being a participation in divine creation; which can (for obvious reasons) only happen when a Man is fully aligned with divine purposes of creation. 

This alignment with God happens seldom and briefly, is easily blocked or reversed; which limits the frequency of this state of consciousness. 

But when a Man is fully aligned with God's creation - what a man is following his destiny and that of providence; then Final Participation will happen - spontaneously, without effort or intent. 

Our main job is to recognize when this is-happening and recall when it has-happened. 

And for the Romantic Christian these are the key moments of our mortal life - vital life lessons from which we ought to learn. 

So; these Final Participation experiences will not happen often, and we cannot 'make' them happen by training.

Attempts at training and beliefs that training is efficacious are, indeed, counter-productive. 

But we can notice Final Participation states, value them, learn from them.


whitney said...

Does Romantic Christianity have anything to do with Jesus Christ?

Todd said...

I notice that your claims here about how we can't control or make them happen really annoyed me, Dr. Charlton. That may be a sign that you are on to something!

Bruce Charlton said...


What does the question mean?

What do You think Christianity has to do with Jesus Christ?

I have described my own best understanding of 'what Jesus did' multiple times on this blog, and in the Lazarus Writes book.

That is your answer - I suppose.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Todd - We can prevent them - but there are no 'shortcuts' to make them happen.

The long way round is to be in loving accord with God's creative purposes - plus a conscious choice to allow oneself to participate in creation from one's own divine self.

whitney said...

I have not read your books and I have not been reading the blog long enough to see anything written about Him. I did read your page on romantic Christianity and His name is not mentioned that's why I asked

Bruce Charlton said...

@W - "His name is not mentioned"

Err - not a gotcha; it's in the name.

Romantic 'Christ'-ianity.

i.e. Christianity, of a 'romantic' kind. I assumed that interested readers would already know what 'Christianity' was, and that it was 'Romantic' that needed explaining.

If the word is important to you, you could do a word search - there seem to be 45 instances of Christ on the current text page of this blog (plus a few extra 'Jesus's).