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Self-Development

Self-Development

The belief that human beings have a higher potential for spiritual development is the basis for all world religions. Indeed, this is one of the characteristics by which genuine religions can be recognised. However, spiritual development is not something that is normally taught in schools nor even by the church. The emphasis of church teachings and dogma, at least as openly expounded from the pulpit, has traditionally focused on ideas of salvation. The analogy is of a ship sailing through stormy seas.  The body of the church (i.e. the congregation not the building in which it meets) is the ship itself. The clergy are the crew while the owner of not just this one ship but the whole shipping line is Jesus Christ himself. When it comes to salvation, the individual church-goer has an essentially passive role: that of passenger.

Now while this model may have worked in the Middle Ages, when few people could read and even fewer had access to more than one or two books, it is wholly inadequate now. In today’s media-savvy, internet age, people rightly demand greater control over their own lives. This includes access to information and ideas concerning self-development. For that reason it is going to be one of our major faculties.

What then does self-development mean in this context? It is often written that man (and woman for that matter) is divided into three parts to which we give the names body, mind and spirit but actually this is not the whole story. A better way of seeing ourselves is to say that we live on multiple levels of existence. The first of these we can call the world of the body, the second the world of the soul (anima), the third the world of the mind (mens) and the fourth the world of the spirit. For convenience we think of these worlds as being analogues of the four elements: respectively earth, water, air and fire. However, there is a trap that we must be aware of when describing levels of existence in this way. This is to think that ‘higher’ worlds are somehow similar to our familiar world of objects that we see around only more refined, more ghostly. Our experience of higher worlds is different entirely from our existence in the material world, so our approach to self-development has to take this into account. Self-development in higher worlds is a lot trickier than surrounding ourselves with scented candles, pretty crystals and the background sounds of courting whales, pleasant as these may be.  Each level of our being requires a different type of work and, because we ourselves have natural aptitudes of one sort or another, we will find some things much easier than others.

Accordingly, so as to better reflect the individual nature of the four levels, this faculty is being split into four sections. Material in the form of lectures, papers and videos will be added gradually.

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