To be “Christian” is to participate in One Indivisble Whole
Posted on 24 November 2017, 15:13
More Afterlife teaching from Stephen the Martyr.
[If it were possible to perceive souls as entities, separate from each other, then Stephen here would be talking about reincarnation as commonly understood. But since there is no such separation, Stephen’s teaching is more about the Communion of Saints, the unity of living and the so-called dead and with the Whole]
Stephen (the Martyr): You have questions of course?
Michael: The question on our minds is the nature of what one could call the Continuous Self. Now to talk to you, is to talk to a person with feelings recognisably the same as my own, who experiences and reacts in ways that I might experience and react in. I think of you and then I think of myself, of how my continuous self has worn [other personalities] and myself and confusion begins to come to my mind, because I cannot, we cannot, quite formulate the question. Gerald, just now, to try and express his feeling, has drawn a wheel, with the continuous self as the hub of the wheel and each spoke, each part of the tread, covering fresh ground, rough or smooth, and there is choosing at the hub. Stephen, can you talk about this?
Stephen: I shall be delighted to.
Firstly let me again correct a misapprehension that we are all inclined to be under whilst we are in the physical body: and that is the feeling of separateness.
You will find that you are thinking of separateness when we refer to Stephen, or to Michael and “Charles” [a supposed former incarnation of M’s] as if they were truly separate.
Think of the wheel and the external perimeter of the wheel as the Whole continuously-
With the spokes from the exterior going through the centre, being experiences of the Whole.
The experience of the spoke belongs to the Whole and is the experience of the Whole; the spoke itself is only the instrument of the Whole.
Think of this concept now and ask your question again, at some other opportunity.
* [In the Upanishads] “the totality of existence is compared to a wheel, and of this wheel the Lord is both the hub and the rim whereas individual ‘selves’ are the spokes that connect the two: they are inseparable from God but they are not identical with him.” [Article on “Hinduism” in Man, Myth and Magic, p.1313]
Michael: All right. But I think of “Charles” as dead. We have also been thinking of wholes. For instance, we have been thinking of what they call a natural theology, that will embrace in one whole, animals, snakes and ourselves into the one Whole. So much of our thinking has so far, simply involved the growth of the individual human soul. Can you speak of the Whole?
Stephen: You can see even whilst you are speaking where your confusion is.
At one time, we ask a question of the continuous self of an individual.
Now we ask the same question, but of the Whole.
Think again simply of the parable of the Gardener.
He did not make flowers or a border.
He made a garden where each of these parts are [make up] a garden.
The teaching of this you already have.
Let me again make this clearer, for it may answer another question. Many felt troubled when the question “What is a Christian?” was asked. You have even asked this, this night. Perhaps if I answered this question for you, it will answer many questions you may wish to ask.
“Christian” is the name that defines the pursuit of what is Christ. The example of the successful pursuit was in our Lord who indeed was the Christ. Therefore, a Christian in the terms that you wish to think or, indeed, in the terms in which you should think, should be defined as: “Any cell, [soul) each and any part of the continuous self, which acts in a like manner (in pursuit of what is Christ)”; whether it is called Christian, “yellow” or “rain” is immaterial.
For to be Christian is to be conscious not of separateness but to be conscious as part of the Whole.
In the past, for joining of the Whole, parts of the Whole had experiences, continued to choose and gained further experiences in differing incarnations. This is the case with the part of the Whole with which we are blessed, called Michael. He is also a part of the Whole that gained the experience of “Charles”. And backwards as it shall be forwards.
The knowledge of this part of the Whole (which is also called Michael) which was to be gained through experience was decided before the separateness of Michael was felt.
Therefore we can say that the experiences gained would be of the whole self of Michael, the choosing of the whole self of Michael.
But let this not go as far as to specify details of the incidents that occur to the body which the Whole, through Michael, is using.
For this body has a mind that has many functions.
This body has a mind that can be influenced and this body was chosen by the Whole through the whole self, the continuous self of Michael, because of its situation and because of the probability of the influences that will be made to bear on the mind of that body that we know as Michael.
Incidents will happen that were not planned and yea even should not be planned; but the total of the experience of that part of the whole which is the whole self of Michael (whilst that part is in the body) was requiring that total experience, not the separate incidents.
Should it be necessary for the “Charles”-Michael* to become a “George”, then it will be decided at which stage the “George” should possess a body, where the body should be situated and also the time in evolution, when it would gain the experience that the part of the whole (which the whole self of Michael) wishes to obtain.
* [ Charles is a presumed former incarnation]
I need to feel and grasp this, and to grasp that I am Michael, that Michael is Stephen and that what I experience now is experience for the You which is also I.
I need to feel and grasp that this is so, that I am but a part that could be described as a spoke in the “wheel” which is the Whole and that together at the outside perimeter we cannot be separated.
Michael: I get confused about this Whole. Are not you, Stephen, also Bill and Olive and everyone else as well as Michael?
Stephen: We are all each other though we are not sharing at this time the incidents of the separate bodies.
But the experience that we are sharing in these separate bodies belongs to us all.
* * *
[ “For to be Christian is to be conscious, not of separateness, but to be conscious as part of the Whole.” This is the starting point, in thinking about this Christian version of “reincarnation”. No question of a separated soul leaving a body, and then entering another. “I am but a spoke in the wheel which is the Whole” and “at the outside perimeter we cannot be separated.” On the one hand, Stephen gave us reincarnation names that at first embarrassed us and then led us to self-centred feelings of importance; then, on the other hand, he said that we are all each other, including of course, you the reader. You could say that Stephen was the cause of emotional disturbance for which we needed prolonged counselling before we put things into proportion. Those of us who were talking with Stephen were learning about our own spiritual selves but the message that we hope will be heard is that we are all spokes in the wheel and most of what is said of us can be said of everybody.]
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.
For more on Stephen go to www.thegroundoffaith.net/issues/2017-02