The Evolution of Consciousness
Here in the West where science has become like the voice of God, we have come to view human life as essentially random and accidental, with the basis for this view being the Big Bang theory of our universe’s origins. Beginning with that one great accident, all life that has followed cannot be other than accidental as well, including human life. And with this scientific assessment being widely accepted as truth, the tonal quality of our western culture has become largely hedonistic and purposeless.
Also according to this view, each one of us is born into this world as the result of random biological impulses belonging to the natural propagation of our species. Then despite this accidental birth, after we reach a certain point of maturity we are expected to make important life choices, as if our life was purposeful after all. This is a conflicting message that has caused more than a few to scratch their head and wonder what is going on in our world.
Another way to say this is that even though the scientific view of life is that it has no real rhyme or reason, we can choose to live as if it mattered. We can inject meaning into our lives through our own individual belief system, and no one will stop us from doing this. They might try to correct us and remind us of the scientific reality, but in most cases we will be free to take this more serious approach, if we want to. That is why in our society people run the gamut from those who think the only purpose in life is to enjoy the ride and have a good time to those who take themselves so seriously that they have forgotten how to do that.
Those who tend to be more serious can inject meaning into their lives simply by ascribing inordinate value to some of the aspects of human life that others take for granted. For example, they might ascribe ultimate value to relationships or career, or some might take the same route with philosophy or religion. In this way they attempt to defy the scientific mandate of randomness and fill their own lives with meaning and purpose. The problem is that none of these pursuits has any real meaning on its own. Rather the meaning must come from us—that is, our feelings and beliefs. In other words, if we want our lives to have meaning, we have to be the ones to make it happen.
This has led to an interesting social dynamic in our society—that of experimentation. Perhaps we are the type of person who wants to believe that life has meaning but we have yet to find out what that meaning is. We have not found meaning in any of the pursuits that others swear by. So we decide to make this a matter of our own personal quest. We try this and that, and through the process of elimination we have the sense that we are making progress towards our goal. At least we come to know that it is “not this” and “not that.” Again, no one is going to stop us from taking this route. In our society we are pretty much free to live the way we want, as long as it is lawful. Unfortunately, our freedom to experiment does not always bear fruit in finding.
This then leads to another social phenomenon: the perpetual seeker—one who is always trying this and that, but never finding. Some perpetual seekers even lose sight of what it is they are looking for. They become so attached to their seeking that they begin to view it as part of their identity. They become intoxicated with their freedom to experiment and forget all about meaning and purpose. In essence, they end up following the cultural piper anyway, as if they knew all along that science’s take on things was beyond challenging. But for these the fact that they have spent much time and energy seeking and not finding can bring an undercurrent of disillusionment and even despair into their lives. Why? Because they sincerely wanted to find a greater truth than science’s teaching of randomness. They really wanted life to be meaningful, and this desire was pure. In this way life in the western world has not only become aimless and frivolous; for some it has also become empty and cruel.
Of course, our scientists are not cruel people. It was never their intention to cause anyone disillusionment and despair. They are simply committed to finding the truth, and if their findings bring suffering to people it cannot be helped. The truth cannot be sacrificed or sidestepped in order to feed people’s illusions. In the long run adhering to the truth will make human beings stronger and increase their potential for greatness.
But the question must then be asked: Would the truth, the real truth, bring disillusionment and despair to the human ranks, even if only for the short term? That is not at all what the spiritual masters taught. In one accord they taught that instead of the truth being hard to swallow it would be a healing balm. It would set men free. It would not treat people’s instinctual desire to find meaning and purpose in life with disdain; on the contrary it would fill them with hope and vitality. No, the spiritual masters would not agree with the scientific teaching of Big Bang randomness, not only because it brings suffering but also because it is not really the truth at all. They had their own take on the truth pertaining to these matters, and that truth is as old as the hills themselves. But it is not easy for us to learn and embrace this spiritual truth in a world in which science’s view has become inviolable. It is there for the finding, but it takes a courageous soul to do so.
This truth teaching of the masters first appeared in the East approximately five thousand years ago. It takes the stance that human life is more than just a random biological happening; it is the outworking of the evolution of spiritual consciousness. In other words, we are each born into this world because our individual endowment of spiritual consciousness is in the process of evolving towards its ultimate fruition, and we need time and experience on the earthly plane, in order for that to happen. Furthermore, we are all at different stages of this evolutionary process when we are born into a particular life incarnation. These divergent stages of consciousness are known in the East as karma. And because each one of us is here to work out our karma on this plane with no guarantee that we will reach fruition in any given lifetime, most of us must be born repeatedly.
Then approximately four thousand years ago this teaching became known in what was then considered to be the West—in the Mediterranean region called the Land of Canaan. And the book that we call the Bible is actually the story of how this truth teaching from the East first became known to one man named Abraham and was then passed down to an entire nation of his descendants—a people known as the Hebrews. But not surprisingly, these early Hebrews felt impressed to guard the teaching and veil it in secrecy. Thus the writings in the Bible make no reference to their original source. For those with eyes to see, however, it soon became clear that this was, in fact, the same teaching of the masters from the East, only with a western slant and emphasis. It was the teaching about the evolution of consciousness being our true purpose for being here.
Two thousand years following Abraham’s breakthrough of consciousness Jesus happened on the scene. He was a direct descendant of the first Hebrews, so his highly evolved state of consciousness was explainable even on a human basis. But there was more to Jesus than just his ancestral link. In truth, he differed from any of the Hebrews that had lived before him. And that difference was due to his state of consciousness. As it turned out, Jesus was probably the first man ever born in the West who was already karmically fulfilled. In other words, he was already fully evolved in his spiritual consciousness. And that meant that he was here for an altogether different purpose than we are. He was not here to work out karma; he was here to teach and spread the great teaching from the East into all the western world—no more secrecy or guardedness, only the real truth about who we human beings are and what we are here for.
Jesus was fully aware of who he was and the fact that he was set apart from other men. He also was empowered to perform many miraculous signs and wonders. So it was that this western version of the teaching came forth with an emphasis greater than words alone could have achieved. This was necessary because of the hardened spiritual condition of most westerners at that time and since—a hardness due to our vain materialistic orientation toward life.
And so through Jesus this great teaching from the East has indeed gone out into every corner and crevice of our global community. Unfortunately, even with such an elite heritage most people have failed to recognize or understand the true nature of the teaching. Those who have ruled over western civilization have twisted and perverted the teaching’s true essence, embellishing it with all manner of superstitious and pagan ideas. This has resulted in a watering down and diluting of the teaching’s power, thereby creating a vacuum in the influential circles of society—one that then facilitated science’s rise to prominence in our midst.
Fortunately, this collective mishandling has not affected an individual’s ability to discover and lay hold of the teaching. And it is for this reason that ever since Jesus’ day those born into the western world have no longer been doomed to a life of purposelessness and materialistic futility. It may take effort and courage for us to find this pearl of great price, but it can and often has been done.
This is the truth that Jesus said would not only lend true purpose to our lives; it would set us free—the truth about the evolution of consciousness. It is the only truth that gives meaning to the human experience.
All human beings have spiritual consciousness. That is how we were created, and that is why we are set apart from all other earthly life forms. But this endowment of consciousness is not static and lifeless. On our karmic journey it may begin as small as a mustard seed. But when it is fully evolved it becomes like a great and mighty life-giving tree. It becomes like a bright star shining in a dark night.
Here in the West we have been given a great example of what consciousness looks like when it is fully evolved. All we have to do is turn our gaze onto Jesus. Even as he proclaimed, he was the light of the world. Why? Because his consciousness, being fully evolved, literally shined forth like the sun. This is no secret. That is why the fully evolved state of consciousness is now often referred to as Christ consciousness.
But whether in the East or the West, the fully evolved state of consciousness is the same. It is the same for all human beings. And in all cases its fullness is one of light and ultimate goodness—that which we call enlightenment.
It is this ultimate evolutionary potential of our spiritual consciousness that makes us like God. This is because a fully evolved human consciousness essentially merges into God. This is why Jesus could say that those who saw him saw God. He also said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30). Contrary to what some have believed, this is not a blasphemous statement. It is the truth for all of us, once we have finished the karmic journey and experienced the full evolution of consciousness.