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We are like children gazing at our image in a pool

Posted on 14 March 2017, 14:32

Further to my previous blog on Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr.

We can often find the teaching of Stephen the Martyr quite difficult. It’s because the primary fact for him is that we are all eternally participants in an indivisible whole. His teaching is close to the mysticism of St John’s gospel , where Jesus compares us to branches on a vine, and in ch. 17:15 prays, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us.” This is not how we usually think. But experiences with synchronicity can push us in this direction.

7. The necessity for physical lives. 

Olive: Some religions teach that having physical lives is necessary until we become perfected men and it is all a matter of evolution: not because of the Fall, caused by eating of the forbidden fruit. Can you help me in my confusion over this?

Stephen: We do have to become Man [=humanity] Now if the Father [=parent] created Man in his own image, then the Father created Man that he might be His, and He might belong to Man. For what is the Father but All?

Therefore we might say that each of us becomes Man. But the conclusions that are drawn are that the cell,[soul] part of the Father, must become Man to become perfect.

This contradicts what is the truth: or how can what is perfect require a created vessel of its own creation in order to become itself which is perfect?

The confusion in many minds, including our own, is derived from thinking that we need to make a journey, and thinking that we should be progressing from one stage to another until we reach the heights of perfection.

We speak often of two different things; we confuse what is created with what creates.

You yourself have often created apparel that you wish to wear for a particular effect or experience.

But does that apparel become you?

Are you less of yourself without the apparel?

Or more of you because of it?

So when we speak of Man let us not confuse what is eternal and everlasting with what comes from the dust and will return to the dust from which it came.

In the beginning of our meetings we spoke then of the Source of all things and the cell of that Source that voluntarily came away

(for this is the best concept that I can give you.)

It came away so that each cell gathers in experience by choice of the Love that is the Source.

For love is not stagnant but a moving thing and love becomes greater by growth.

As the cells began to experience they experienced not only love, but also what is the opposite of that love.

Now the opposite of to love is not a thing that a teacher might point out to a pupil, but something to compare love with.

For Love is, and the opposite of Love is not.

Therefore the cell experiences the lack of that love so that the cell through choice would make growth in love, to cancel out what is lack, or the non-love.

As a vessel for that experience all that we can perceive has been created and is even yet being created.

The aim and object is not the instrument of loving, nor is it the vessel that receives the loving.

The aim and object is the actual experience of Love.

8. “Gazing at our image in the pool”.

“Think of yourselves as you gaze upon your image in the pool which, for all intents and purposes, be your mirror´ [Here, Stephen is addressing our eternal selves looking at themselves in the mirror of this world:]

Stephen: Just one more step with your thoughts, and you might be able to see yourselves.

Think of yourselves as you gaze upon your image in the pool which, for all intents and purposes, be your mirror. How often, as a child, have we looked into this pool and our consciousness has gone into that one which we see. This then is the state that our conscious mind is in, in the one of the image. What we see and perceive are reflections, or so be it, symbols of what truly is, but because of the unreality of that image it can either be good or not-good as we ourselves choose to see.

We have listened to the words that we must step outside of ourselves and look inwards. This would be confusing if it were not for the image that we are conscious of ourselves as. Imagine now, each one of you,  your reflection in the pool. Then imagine that you are that reflection.

Now I say to you, step outside of your consciousness, and look within yourself that you might see the image.

What then, in the consciousness of the image, would need to happen?

The image in its consciousness, that which has held and does often hold us, would need to separate and die …to live. There are many ways in which this might happen.

The image that can be perceived by other images may be destroyed, as truly was the body of Jesus in the manner as described (in the Gospels).

The importance was not of the dying but to show the way, the gate to come out of the image and back into the true consciousness, where we perceive only those things that are reflected and distorted by the turbulence created by our thrashing inside the pool so that even the reflections (should we be able to perceive them) from ourselves rather than from our image, would also be distorted.

Think of the reason now that we would first put our consciousness into the image as we gaze at the pool; for truly, now we have come out … we look back into the pool. We take our consciousness and immerse it in the image for we reason as children do: “I wish to experience…for by looking at myself from without I can understand myself better.” We do this many times, with many images that we might learn of ourselves.

Often as the image we perceive all else that is mirrored around us: we the (mirrored) cell that we speak of this night, we see the pattern that is formed, the movement of the parts and of the Centre. We understand that it can separate, divide, come together and be created. We learn much of ourselves and of all things.

We forget often the pattern that we may perceive does have this margin of error, physically, visibly, for it is only an image and cannot be defined with the same clarity as the cell itself is, in truth.

*  *  *  *  *  *

To try and understand Stephen’s words, we need to need to meditate and see things from his point of view, that of the eternal spiritual whole (sub specie aeternitatis). It is difficult for us to do this, but this is the thrust of all his teachings.
                                           
We may be familiar with the hymn beginning, “God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year,“  or the famous words of Julian of Norwich, “all things are well, all manner of things are well”, or Leibnitz, saying that “this is the best of all possible worlds”.  I begin my book, Into the Wider Dream , by describing how all world religions talk of the predestination of things to come.                                                                                     

So we have a paradox; on the one hand affirming all the above and on the other, the need to follow Jesus in loving our neighbour, whoever that may be, being humble, generous, non-judgmental, not being attached to material things.

It seems a paradox, but the more we love our neighbour, the less self-centred we are, the less judging, the more humble we become, the more we will see things from Stephen’s point of view, i.e the more we will love God.

Do look at my Stephen page here.

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.

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“A Case to Consider” by Paul Beard – What is it possible to discover about the experiences we shall meet with after we die - if indeed existence does continue - and about how we can best prepare for them? Read here
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