Conflict, Continuity and the Expansion of Consciousness

Tim Wyatt – England


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As much as many spiritual people dislike and deny the fact - conflict has always been central to human existence and conduct. It has been one of the painful but principal drivers of progress. Without this constant interplay between discord and harmony, individuals, societies and civilizations would have remained static and non-dynamic. Individually we need challenges to perpetually push against. For those choosing an accelerated path to spiritual development, conflict is a permanent feature and the challenge is to use it creatively.

It may be obvious but as esotericists we always have to thoroughly question everything. We are obliged to search out the inner rather than the outward exoteric causes of events by applying timeless cosmic laws such as The Law of Polarity or the twin Laws of Karma and Reincarnation rather than transitory human ideas.  We are interested in the deeper occult meanings of things rather than obvious outward explanations. Often we are at variance with the fads and fashions of the time.

This can lead to isolation and alienation leaving those who dissent very unpopular because they do not choose to follow the herd. The herd, by the way, is always reactionary and usually wrong. It has an almost limitless capacity for ignorance and discord.

In fact violence and cruelty are so deeply embedded in the human make-up – physically, emotionally and mentally – that eradicating this gallingly persistent human trait seems as dauntingly impossible as travelling to the most distant galaxy. One day both will be achievable – but each of us will have reincarnated many times before that time arrives.

Humanity has reached a pivotal turning point in its development and for many reasons – exoteric and esoteric – it appears to be in the process of tearing itself apart on virtually every level but especially politically, religiously, socially, economically and ecologically. This destruction is entirely normal and no doubt part of a wider re-configuration of ourselves and the planet. 

It appears we are approaching some kind of apocalypse or Götterdämmerung. But there’s nothing to worry about – it is a regular occurrence. As we know from that most Teutonic of German philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche – that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – eventually.

The present convulsion we find ourselves in is certainly a major one. We can ascribe many different outward causes to it but until we discover the concealed underpinnings of the present state of the planet we shall never properly understand it at all. The first thing to understand from an occult point of view is that the current turbulence is an integral part of a longer cycle.

This major intersection in human affairs has resulted from two principal causes: our unique position in the world cycle and collective human karma. These are both arcane and hugely misunderstood concepts.

Disentangling our own individual karma is difficult if not impossible. Understanding collective human karma is unimaginably complex and far beyond our limited abilities at this stage. 

A battle is always raging for the soul of the world. This is an eternal battle which has continued for hundreds of millennia on the inner and outer planes. It flares up regularly and always seems to have been a permanent feature of life on Earth. It is popularly portrayed religiously and culturally as the fight between good and evil.

We’ve been here before: During Atlantean times we are told that humanity first bifurcated into the opposing forces of light (pro-evolution) and darkness (anti-evolution). The supposedly wicked ones, the so-called Lords of the Dark Face used advanced technologies to manipulate the forces of nature and push their own ultra-materialistic agenda. The pro-evolutionary forces, the Lords of the Shining Face, failed to triumph in that battle. The continent itself was progressively destroyed in three or four definite stages – the last around 12,000 years ago. That battle has never ceased. 

All of us in incarnation today participated in this act of slow-motion destruction and renewal. Now we are back here doing exactly the same thing all over again. Never before has humanity been on earth in such numbers. Never has humanity been more technologically capable of engineering its own instant annihilation. Never has humanity faced such challenges – and opportunities.

The principal hurdles we face are human arrogance, the imagined importance of satisfying the greedy and grasping lower self and a technology-will-solve-all attitude. Add to this mass ignorance and an almost complete lack of understanding of who we are and where we are going on this endless evolutionary adventure and it leaves us in something of an arid and toxic wasteland. We appear to be foundering in a new dark age of disinformation and deceit. This is the cul-de-sac we have entered after centuries of becoming increasingly mired in the myths of materialism.

Societies are unravelling. Many of our cities have become sinkholes of insanity and depravity rather than the high-points of civilisation. We have to ask ourselves why.

The destruction of our present civilization is inevitable but the way it happens is to some degree dependent on collective human consciousness – and karma. Nothing lasts forever. Disintegration is the final destination for all civilizations – and indeed everything else. Continents are always destroyed by fire or water to make way for new land masses and new development groups of humanity. 

The unwelcome truth for many people is that conflict is an essential ingredient of both the continuity of life and significant uplifts in human consciousness. As I have commented before, war is an especially effective accelerant of progress – especially socially and technologically. Paradoxically, war like travel broadens the mind. It has been said that war is God’s way of teaching Americans geography. 

Closed societies which remain stable over centuries or millennia show little or no progress because they become locked into an evolutionary loop. There are no new stimuli or outside influences to put them into fresh orbits. There are many examples of this. Before Europeans arrived in Australia the million inhabitants in a thousand aboriginal tribes had lived in total harmony with nature in an unchanging society for 70,000 years. Until the geography could be breached, there were no external sources of fresh ideas. When those ideas arrived, of course, they opened up a new continent for some but proved ruinous to the local inhabitants. It is a scenario repeated throughout history.

Conversely, societies which are subject to a relentless tidal-wave of new influences, unfamiliar ideas and people from different cultures also sometimes develop extreme instability. Look at Europe and North America in particular.

Logic would suggest that the ideal is some sort of middle way to guarantee a degree of stability while embracing the dynamics of change and growth. This is very difficult to pinpoint precisely. And it is even more difficult to achieve.

The important process to recognise here is that change is unavoidable, and it is always accompanied by a degree of upheaval, destruction and conflict. And this is also true for human consciousness. Physical, mental or spiritual expansion will always be accompanied by varying amounts of pain or discomfort.

Individuals who consciously choose to accelerate their own spiritual development may initially think it offers a softer option to a harsh and challenging world. But every single one of these individuals rapidly becomes aware that rather than getting easier, life suddenly gets more tough and challenging – usually a lot more. 

Apart from other considerations, stepping on to this path and becoming more deeply aware of one’s own spiritual nature, inevitably obliges individuals to access and confront aspects of themselves buried in the deep unconscious. These may be repressions, traumas, experiences of other lives, karmic obligations or whatever. Often referred to as The Dweller on the Threshold, they are usually very unpleasant and repressed parts of ourselves which we need to dredge out of their hiding places and brutally confront. This always involves disharmony of some kind. So expansions of consciousness involve dealing with our own conflicts and contradictions. At present it seems that world is confronting its own collective Dweller.

Nevertheless, humanity collectively has an innate (and sometimes unrecognised) desire for growth, exploration and fresh experience – especially among the more advanced members of any society. Sometimes change is thrust upon a country or people which sparks rapid and radical transformation. Other changes are slower and more incremental, although in our contemporary world rapid and remorseless perma-change is the key dynamic and many people are very uncomfortable with this – myself included. Apart from any other consideration, it is driving a lot of people mad.

The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones but because smarter ideas appeared. Over time Bronze and then Iron Age societies emerged because these were based on smarter technologies born of more inventive minds more able to manipulate natural resources.

Down the centuries we have increasingly understood and gradually improved human bodies, although mainstream medical science still has little idea of the real processes involved because they do not understand or accept the true composition of the human frame or the way it works. They are ignorant of the fact that the body has an energising principle in the form of an etheric body or etheric double which filters various vital cosmic energies. To science the astral body and our other temporary and permanent vehicles are just science fiction.  And for those in lab coats, the existence of the soul is usually regarded as wishful thinking or some antiquated superstitious myth. 

The age of global exploration which began in the late 15thCentury coincided with The Renaissance. The age of enlightenment, the age of reason, the rise of scientific methodology and the reformation of the church all triggered huge changes. Since the first industrial age dawned 250 years ago much of humanity has seen unprecedented increases in intelligence accompanying the various industrial ages – the first age powered by steam, the second by electricity and the third by information technology. The digital age spanning the last quarter of a century has produced unparalleled changes – many of them extremely negative.

These major expansions of consciousness can be regarded as initiations – crossover points into new and subtler realms of being. But if we deny the existence of these invisible states we are hardly likely to aspire to visit and explore any of the rich realities existing beyond the physical plane.

The next major expansion for advanced members of the race is the development of wisdom-intuition, Theosophy’s sixth or buddhicprinciple. Some people are already actively developing this faculty. It will increasingly emerge as our sixth sense during the sixth sub-race of our present Fifth Root Race and will become standard issue when humanity fully graduates into the Sixth Root Race many aeons down the line.

People who engage in the business of consciousness expansion and soul growth are brave and often lonely people because they are usually sailing unaided in uncharted waters. Even if we are involved in groups, psycho-spiritual self-development is ultimately an individual enterprise. No one can do it for you. It involves dedication, determination and sustained effort over years or life-times with little apparent result. The spiritual aspirant has to be eternally vigilant and always prepared to do battle. 

Each of us is the world in microcosm. The world is at war with itself in just the same way we are at war with ourselves. If and when we do decide that we are going to deliberately speed up our own development, we trigger a war between those lower ego-based personality instincts and our higher selves. Growing beyond the dictates of the transient personality can be as hellishly difficult as alcoholics, drug addicts and inveterate gamblers trying to wean themselves off whisky, heroin or visits to the casino.

And yet without this internal war there would be no dynamic, no imperative for personal growth and therefore no progress. We would just drift on with little or no control over our lives and no direction. Life itself is all about struggle, bloody battles, overcoming the ignominy of defeat and humiliation and having the dogged determination to keep on keeping on. It is about learning the success of failure. This is why we reincarnate on this penitentiary planet. None of this is for the lily-livered or faint-hearted. This is an occupation for the spiritual warrior not the dilettante spiritual tourist flitting from seductive blossom to seductive blossom. At this stage, it is very much a minority pursuit.

When you mingle in spiritual, occult and esoteric circles you get the inevitable impression that many participants are indeed rather wimpy and half-hearted. Some seem to expect the secrets of the universe to be instantly revealed to them without the slightest effort on their part. Some imagine that all you have to do is attend a very expensive and intensive weekend retreat hosted by some cocksure Californian guru with shiny tombstone teeth spouting earnest promises of instant enlightenment.  

Many spiritual groups today have become passive and inward-looking, displaying a quietist religious-like acceptance rather than adopting the raw spirit of adventure and investigation which existed a century ago. In Theosophical circles there is none of the spirit of inquiry and traversing of new horizons that there used to be. There is none of the zeal that science puts into its (albeit limited) attempts to investigate man, matter and the cosmos.

With growing interest in spiritual matters and more people describing themselves as spiritual but not religious, the road to enlightenment has become a very profitable industry with its shadowy ranks of modern snake-oil salesmen peddling wisdom at a price. This is of course a fake road and a dead end.

This work on ourselves is the most important work that we do in any lifetime. It is often without any apparent payback whatsoever. It is about playing the long game. It is about being a lone adventurer.

Nothing about self-development and the expansion of consciousness is easy and anyone who leads you to believe otherwise is both a fool and a liar. Nothing comes without struggle, effort, sheer persistence and a whole host of other human characteristics which are not very fashionable these days of instant access to everything. 

At some point in the future harmony may emerge and we may be able to happily dance together hand in hand through sun-dappled uplands with blissed out ear-to-ear grins of enlightenment. For the time being, however, these are little but fanciful wet dreams which are unlikely to be fulfilled. Until we have progressed a lot further spiritually, there is going to be plenty of conflict to go around. So rather than shirk it or even deny it, it is important that we understand and begin to harness these dynamics for creative use.

[This article is based on the opening lecture at the ‘Conflict & Connectivity’ conference held by Leeds Theosophical Society in Yorkshire, England on 23rdand 24thJune 2018]

Tim Wyatt’s books are available from

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