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The Bridge To God
(Even Science is a Magical Activity)

October 21, 1980

PART 2

CD available from the Dawn Horse Press


 

Your spiritual practice must become true magic. You must be a shaman, but you also must be more than a shaman. You must practice beyond the limitations of the vitalistic shaman, but you must be at least as good as that, at least as conscious as that, at least as aware of the magical nature of everything, at least as perceptive and sensitive, and at least as capable of acknowledgment, so that you can see what is trying to influence you through the medium of all kinds of relations, odd appearances, and coincidences. Everything altogether is trying to be a revelation for you. It is just that you are not sensitive to it in your ordinary habit.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

 


Avatar Adi Da SamrajAVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Only one human force is dominant on Earth at the present time. It wants to take over and change the entire world. It wants all human beings to conform to a model of existence. It wants to change the total environment of Earth into a technologically mastered condition. And when mankind leaves the Earth and physically goes out into space, this force wants to do the same thing in space. [Laughter.]

But people have been associated with outer space for thousands of years through the medium of psychic association with the universe! People have visited other parts of the physical universe and the total cosmos through psychic means. Through the medium of psychic association or participatory knowing, people have already left the sphere of Earth. They are being prevented from doing so now by the anti-psychic trend of the new Man. The only way the new Man can envision getting off this planet is through the medium of technology and scientism. The only relationship to the universe, therefore, of which such people conceive is to move around in association with analyzed, technological environments, pursuing that one kind of knowing and entering into relations of power with all forces. Science fiction is always conceiving of the ultimate human destiny in outer space in very much the same territorial, power-mad terms people live on Earth, in which there are galactic wars and people blow one another to pieces with superior machinery and all the rest of that nonsense.

DEVOTEE: Beloved, you mentioned the American Indians. It always seemed to me that the story told in the book Black Elk Speaks describes the end of the magical way of relating to the world.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: That epoch was the end of magic for that particular cultural group, or at least was a profound end of a certain part of its history. Some of those people are still active, but they do not have the same world to live in, nor the same freedom nor even the same intention to live in the old, magical ways.

In other parts of the world other kinds of ancient human groups are still active in this magical fashion. Magic, you see, is of many types. There are vitalistic, older magical cultures, of which the American Indian is an example, as are the Mexican Indian, the South American Indian, and the Hawaiian Indian. Many vital magical cultures still exist in little pockets of activity. First they are usually studied by anthropologists, then the missionaries come, and then the territorial politics starts enclosing them. Eventually they are assimilated.

Other magical cultures of a higher type exist, although calling them a "higher type" does not mean that they rightfully or in absolute terms dissociate themselves from the domain of vital magic, but that they presume a more expanded, spiritual purpose for magic and are less associated with the negative or black magic that tends to be pursued obsessively in vital cultures. These so-called higher magical cultures include certain aspects of Hinduism or the culture of India in general.

In our own time and very recently we have seen the destruction of such a culture in Tibet. There has been no great outcry about what has happened in Tibet, and yet one of the principal philosophical magical cultures that has ever appeared on Earth has been systematically destroyed within our lifetime by the encroachment of the Chinese in Tibet. Many Tibetans have had to flee from their homeland. Those who stayed have been systematically washed out of their magical world into the idealism of Communism and a kind of objective, occidental Man's view of things. The Tibetans have been dispersed, just as were the American Indians, the Jews, and many other groups. Today these peoples are trying to survive as groups by regenerating their traditions in other places. But in general we see a movement all over the Earth to destroy all vestiges of the spiritual, magical disposition and the kinds of culture and human life created on its basis.

As a just-coming-to-life spiritual culture, we too are being met by the same kinds of intrusions. The same forces are threatening us and would want to complicate us. Those same forces are in you because you have not been born into a spiritual culture. You have for one or another reason come to the point of entertaining the possibility of wanting to generate the spiritual Way of Adidam in your own case; but there exist features in your disposition that work against your practice and the development of this Way of life in your case as well as in this community and in this institution.

The disposition in Man at the present time is opposed to this Way of life, and the evidence of opposition is visible all over the world. We are witnessing the worldwide development of insane, power-mad, analytical Man and all the self-destructive and other-destructive habits that that kind of man generates when he is otherwise bereft of Wisdom in other words, when he does not have the ability to bring into balance what he discovers through the one way of knowing called science. The scientific man cannot bring science into balance with a total understanding or a higher Wisdom about life and this world.

For that reason, we see warfare everywhere on Earth, which can produce the terrible consequences we have already discussed, nuclear explosions and the technological and political domination of mankind by the point of view inherent in the psychology of science. But the true war is not occurring at the level of technological weapons. The true war is taking place at the level of consciousness. It is a war between the species of Man who lives according to the model reflected in scientism and the species of Man who lives in his old form, which is magical and tends to be more exclusively subjective and unable to understand and control certain of the forces that perhaps human beings should try to control or associate with in a more sophisticated fashion.

Ultimately it is a war between the left-brained model of Man and the transcendental development of Man, which is not magical in the old sense but Magical in the perfect sense, wherein Man is unified and enjoys a unified understanding of the universe and his position as a process or as an expression of the active Principle that is manifesting and evolving in the apparent world.

The urban world in which we all tend to be crammed reflects a basic human or subhuman attitude. Even in the country, the urban design of Man still encroaches. Living out here in the country trying to safeguard this place, trying to survive as a sacred institution, we therefore endure all kinds of problems. The city is a form of consciousness, not merely a place in space. It reflects an attitude, a way of life altogether. It is a dogma, a psychological field. It is a vision. And it is antithetical to magical culture.

In the culture of magic, the world is approached as it is, not as it becomes after human beings have manipulated and changed it. The world to which the magician looks to relate himself is the spontaneously living world into which he is born, not into which he is educated and with which he is combined through human strategies. People who work to develop the magical process in an advanced form usually dissociate even from their villages or tribes for a while. They go out into the wilderness to dissociate themselves, as a temporary technique at any rate, from all kinds of ordinary human activity, to readjust, to balance themselves out, to become resensitized to the larger dimension of their existence. Having become magically active, they then see the given world in magical terms, and they simply and sensitively observe the changes that take place and then perform various activities that constantly generate and regenerate the magical forces in the world.

From this magical point of view the features of the observed world even the gross, so-called "outer" world are understood to be magical. In particular, certain characters of that world, certain of its characteristics, are considered magical especially those that are in a state of free flow rather than unchanging. The animals, the patterns of weather, human others apart from the ordinariness of daily social obligation these features of the world are conceived in magical terms, are constantly observed for any changes, and are approached via magical activity to generate certain kinds of changes. These magical features of the world are conceived to be a bridge to the total world. The so-called objective world is not viewed as a thing in itself, but it is always a form of connection to the total psycho-physical world.

The deer, for instance, is not just an animal in the objective world. It is a living psycho-physical feature of the formal universe and is therefore a bridge between the various dimensions of the formal universe. The deer is not merely an animal in the objective physical world but a psychic presence. It is a way of relating to the more fluid, psychic dimension of the world. Likewise, this fluid, psychic dimension of the world makes its bridge to the objective world through these creatures and forces.

From the magical, shamanistic point of view everything is alive. The cosmos is a living process. A little while ago we were talking about accepting the positive as well as the magical significance of creatures other than Man. From the magical point of view, so-called inanimate objects are also conceived as being alive and participating in a living, magical cosmos. And this is certainly true. The more psychically awake you become, the more you are aware of the psycho-physical nature of what you call the objective world.

Once you see that the world is psycho-physical in nature, you begin to appreciate the living condition of everything that arises in the field of experience not living, perhaps, in the sense that a chair can get up and walk out of the room, but living in a magical sense. Your association with so-called inanimate objects can go through many changes. Association with an inanimate place, even just a room, can change. There are feelings associated with it, a sense of energies, emotions, moods, influences, all kinds of factors to which you become sensitive relative to so-called inanimate things, just as you can be sensitive relative to moving and living things.

It is not that you should just arbitrarily take up a view that everything is alive, as if everything were a creature. Rather, you must develop and mature in your psychic sensitivity to things and then begin to appreciate just in what sense everything is alive, and in what sense everything has effect and should be acknowledged as a force. Living things are significant to us because a force is associated with life. Inanimate things are also living in the sense that a force is associated with them. They are living in this sense rather than in the sense that they are mobile. Perhaps it is also true that they can move around. This is not totally out of the question, but it must be observed. At any rate, so-called inanimate objects are alive as forces and influences, and the forces can change and vary in our association with them.

This, then, is part of the magical consciousness that is natural to us: to awaken to this sense of the total cosmos as a living presence, a circumstance of forces. At the root of all these things, animate and inanimate, is Radiant Being, the Utterly Living Conscious Reality. Inanimate things, lower creatures, Man, Nature, the Earth, everything is a modification of That Which is ultimately perfectly Alive, Radiant, Forceful, Conscious, Existing. Thus, to have this sense that everything is alive is not illogical or somehow strange. Everything is alive as force, as energy, as psychic reality.

You all can see that table, right? You call it a thing, and in calling it a thing or an object and getting involved in the objective consciousness we analyze with our left brain, you tend to reduce that object to something not alive. But if we naturally relate to that table, first of all we realize that it is a perception. I say, "There is that table over there", but this table is a perception, a development of My own nervous system. It is made to seem a table by virtue of a convention, a process of the nervous system, a process of cognition and perception. I do not see the thing itself. I see this perception. The table exists only as a psychic condition. It is itself a psychic condition, because it is not other than a perception. If we relate to it openly, without defining it, excluding it, or analyzing it into something not alive, we realize its natural livingness, its natural psychic condition.

Even to understand things in analytical, scientific terms, we must recognize that everything is a species of Light, a modification of Force. Even from that point of view, then, without otherwise sympathetically participating in everything as energy, you must presume that everything is Light. To enter into open psycho-physical participation with this world is to recognize it as Force, as Energy, as Light, and therefore as something alive and something that is not absolutely separable from Consciousness, from Being, from the psychic Condition of our existence.

The world participates in Conscious Being utterly because we have no way to dissociate ourselves from the world to the point that it is no longer a psychic phenomenon. Therefore, we cannot have any association with that table without being involved in a psychic phenomenon, because our perception is nothing but a psychic phenomenon. It is never not that, in other words. We presume in some sense that the table is "over there," but in between "over there" and "me" there exists this game of perception/conception.

Ultimately, all that arises to perception is transparent, and something about the nature of so-called reality begins to become clear to us. We are all the time chattering about the external world and presuming ourselves to be separate from it. But when we enter into the deepest recognition of the actual circumstance of our existence, we realize that we are never involved with anything but a psychic phenomenon. Our entire existence is for us a psychic phenomenon, a perception of Energy, a convention of Energy. Therefore, it is temporary and changing. It is to be gone beyond. It is not forever, and as it appears now is not the only way Reality or Light can modify Itself. It is just modifying Itself in this way at the present time.

If a particular kind of psycho-physical mechanism were not in operation in us, if a particular kind of brain-mind and nervous system were not active, we would not observe this world as we now do. We would be in another state altogether. And some day you will be in that state, and it will be perfectly natural for you. It will just be a development of the same State that is fundamentally yours at the present, except that you are not acknowledging It as such. You are presuming another convention, another design. You develop a convention of presumption about the world that is based on bodily relations as they are perceived and analyzed by this nervous system. But that convention is not otherwise necessary. It is just a convention, a temporary model, and it does not describe Reality as it Is. Rather, it is a description of a particular way Reality gets modified. Reality otherwise transcends the description.

What is Reality? Is it the objective, material world? What is that, anyway? Even science is finding out through its investigations that space-time is a paradoxical affair and that our consciousness is determined by the local "Earth-universe" game in which we see things in a certain temporal and spatial frame. But if you get out beyond this local consciousness, the universe is a very paradoxical affair. Space-time is not always as linear and fixed as it seems to be here. Space does not always look precisely as it does here, cannot always be cognized or perceived as it is here. Objects have a different kind of locus, a different kind of process. Light appears differently, modifies itself differently. Mind, therefore, would presumably be entirely different under those expanded conditions. Psychic states would also, therefore, be entirely different in that context of awareness. The knowledge and experience we can develop under the present conditions are therefore local knowledge and local experience. They are not absolute in any terms. And therefore, ultimately, they are transcended.

In the Bhagavad Gita (9:24), Krishna says, "I am the Recipient and Lord of all the sacrifices." All the dharmas can be reduced to the one Dharma of sacrifice to the Universal, Transcendental Being. However, we are all used to a monotheistic notion of the Divine wherein very little evidence of the Power of God is demonstrated in people's lives. People believe that there is only one God and that all these other gods are untrue, that there are no ghosts, that there is nothing but one God but there is also no God-Power. This is because people do not understand this world as the Divine Domain, as a psychic realm fundamentally, and they do not see that in fact all conditions and all beings live in God and are a bridge to God.

All things and beings are a bridge to the Infinite. They are not simply things in themselves, but they are in fact such a bridge. Merely to think, then, in terms of the One Transcendental Being is not necessarily to generate a process wherein the Power of God and the Person of God, or the Being That Is God, is directly contacted through practice of your Way of life. You must Awaken and discover the Divine World wherein everything is a bridge to the Infinite, One Being.

That Awakening is what is primary. It is not merely an awakening to the mental truth that there is only one God. It is a matter of Awakening to the Nature of your Condition and therefore to the Nature of the Condition of everything that you are observing. Because that Awakening is primary, when it occurs you begin to become sensitive to the world in a new fashion. And in that sensitivity you will see in magical terms how various presences, beings, and events in gross visibility or only in subtle visibility, or altogether invisible and only sensed are bridges to this One. Therefore, you may become aware of magical association with beings or forces, states of presence and the like, that are actually part of the magical apparatus of your association with the One Divine. Having made this discovery, you may continue to enjoy magical association with those entities, forces, or conditions, but you will not fall prey to the error of worshipping those features of the world in themselves. Rather, you will be making use of your association with those forces or beings as a bridge or medium of association with the Living Divine.

All beings are that One, but they are each still the being each appears to be, with the particular characteristics each obviously has. You acknowledge and recognize that One, but in the form of every particular individual and the particular relationship you have to that individual. Likewise, you must become sensitive to the total world, to the great features of the world and its fluid, magical features.

The four cardinal directions are associated with the movement of the Earth, the movement of the sun, and the movement of the winds. Therefore, they are associated with energies, and the field of those energies corresponds to the directions or aspects of the field of energy in the body. In this way we are associated with a complex of forces that can be understood to be wholly integrated and to abide in One Great Universal and Transcendental Reality. But we must not abstract that One from the complexity of the magical universe. We must recognize that One in the complexity of the magical universe and use the magical universe as a bridge, a form of association with that One.

We should not merely associate with the power of the north wind and the deer, you see. We should associate with the One, but through these characteristics, and we should observe and understand and feel that these characteristics of the moving universe exist, with their particular dynamic features, their particular proportions, the particular quality of Energy or Force that they represent in this complex Unity.

The shaman has a magical cosmos in mind. He has names for everything. He has a diagram of the universe. But the true shaman does not simply have this scheme in mind, as if he learned it from somebody or a book. The true shaman has realized this scheme. He is in the habit of recognizing things in magical terms, and he therefore begins to become sensitive to what they are indicating about the world. Once he sees what is shown, then he names it or spontaneously feels a name for it, regards it in a particular fashion, and introduces a certain feature into his magical process or his sacramental life that will continue to acknowledge that which he has realized.

Therefore, as a spiritual practitioner you must be able to acknowledge and recognize all the powers that combine in your perception and conception to be the magical representation of the One Who is Alive as everything and everyone. The body-mind is just such an incarnate representation. It is not an ego. It is a total, complex configuration of the One Being. Just so, all beings are That, and the total environment is just such a Singleness, if we Awaken to understand, recognize, and acknowledge it as such. If you begin to engage in this recognition and acknowledgment through sacramental activity and through daily life, you will discover that much more Power appears in your practice. You will not just be performing rote rituals. You will see that an even greater Power, a greater Dimension of influence and of actual change, appears in your daily practice and in your sacramental practice.

Your practice must become true magic. You must be a shaman, but you also must be more than a shaman. You must practice beyond the limitations of the vitalistic shaman, but you must be at least as good as that, at least as conscious as that, at least as aware of the magical nature of everything, at least as perceptive and sensitive, and at least as capable of acknowledgment, so that you can see what is trying to influence you through the medium of all kinds of relations, odd appearances, and coincidences.

Everything altogether is trying to be a revelation for you. It is just that you are not sensitive to it in your ordinary habit. The shaman, you see, has entered into a discipline to make himself sensitive. It is not that he is making the magic happen. The magic is already there. He is just not sensitive to it, not in a position to observe it. Thus, he must engage in a discipline that enables him to participate in what is already happening. Then all of a sudden he sees all kinds of magical things.

We likewise should not devalue the media of association with the Divine. We should not fail to allow this world to be a bridge of association with the Divine, just as we should not fail to allow the body-mind to be such a bridge. We should make all our relations such a bridge. We should recognize the world as sacred and therefore value its particular features and not desecrate it. We should rightly use and value those features, not as fetishes we value for their own sake, but as what they truly are, as media of Divine Association, recognizable in the One Divine.


dharmas The Sanskrit word dharma has many different meanings. Here it stands for "way of life," "attitude," "disposition," etc. The supreme Dharma is the Law of sacrifice which, in human terms, is self-transcending surrender.

 

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