In a recent conversation through Linda Dillon, (1) Archangel Michael explained more of what he meant when he said that our views of spiritual evolution were not quite complete and in some instances not correct.
One of the ways they’re incomplete and incorrect is that there’s no absolute need for a being to go through all the stages of evolution when returning to the One. Returning to the One I call “mergence.”
He reminded me that many beings – and, he said, this is especially true of some of the beings who’ve incarnated on Earth at this time to help out with Ascension – have originally come from the angelic realm.
In the past I’d heard that statement as meaning that we all once came from the angelic realm. But he’s disabusing me of that notion as well and saying that, no, he means that we came directly from the angelic realm to help with Ascension.
And we’ve undergone a tremendous forgetting but our memories and our capabilities will be returned in the not so distant future. (2)
Therefore there’s no need for those he’s referring to to “become,” say, seraphim because they’ve already been seraphim. In terms of evolution, he said, if they who’ve incarnated or if an archangel who has not incarnated especially distinguished themselves, they could be called back by the Mother.
I assume that being “called back” by the Mother is another way of saying merging with the One, the origin and destination of all existence.
If they were called back, they’d “leapfrog” (his word) over the other stages of evolution. He then went on to explain that it wasn’t really leapfrogging. It was the experience of the other stages at the speed of light and love.
Anyone who’s read accounts of the Buddha’s mahasamadhi might be familiar with the Buddha passing through many realms before he arrived at mahaparinirvana. Is this an account of leapfrogging?
“And the Blessed One entered the first jhana. Rising from the first jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the fourth jhana. And rising out of the fourth jhana, he entered the sphere of infinite space.
“Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of nothingness.
“Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. And rising out of the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he attained to the cessation of perception and feeling.” (3)
The process described here may be similar to the process AAM was referring to.
The total journey itself is suggested by Jacob’s dream:
“And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
“And behold, the Lord stood above it.” (4)
Rumi may be referring to the highest union here:
“When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’” (5)
Have we any descriptions of what it exactly means to reach the top of the ladder and merge with God who there awaits us? Very few. We can only guess from snippets in the masters’ writings. Krishna for instance refers to it:
“His aim is accomplished,
He enters the Highest.” (6)
Not much detail there. Hazrat Inayat Khan again refers to it, but with no detail:
“The purpose of life … is that the only Being makes his oneness intelligible to Himself. He goes through different planes of evolution … to make clear to Himself His oneness. And as long as this purpose is not accomplished, the one and only Being has not reached His ultimate satisfaction, in which lies His divine perfection.” (7)
The Philokalia says:
“Once the battle is over and it is found worthy of spiritual gifts, then it becomes wholly luminous, powerfully energized by grace and rooted in the contemplation of spiritual realities. A person in whom this happens is not attached to the things of this world but has passed from death to life.” (8)
But this can’t be mergence. This is Ascension, the exit from duality, a phase of life in which we need no longer suffer the death of the physical body. This is where we’re headed.
Here’s Al-Ghazzali, speaking of the highest known to him:
“When in the crucible of abstinence he is purged from carnal passions he attains to the highest, and in place of being a slave to lust and anger becomes endued [sic] with angelic qualities. Attaining that state, he finds his heaven in the contemplation of Eternal Beauty, and no longer in fleshly delights.” (9)
But again this cannot be mergence because the individual retains the ability to make an object of things and mergence implies that only the One Subject is to be found.
No, I’m afraid I know of no accounts of mergence. Even Hilarion, who speaks of a point well before it, says that the human ability to describe reaches its end at some point.
“When after ages of struggle and many victories the final battle is won, the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a further path. When the final secret of this great lesson is told, in it is opened the mystery of the new way — a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination.” (10)
Paramahansa Yogananda tells us that creation will not be dissolved until all of us reach that point of mergence:
“The dissolving of all creation is impossible until all souls cease to desire anything at all and thus become fully emancipated in God.” (11)
But now that we have this new information from Archangel Michael, we know it would be possible for the stragglers to leapfrog to mergence if the end of creation in the process of mahalaya or “cosmic sleep” were desired.
How could we expect mergence to be known when God Itself cannot be known? How many sages agree that God is not susceptible to our understanding? Let’s listen to a few of them.
“He can neither be conceived of nor spoken of. [Brahman, God] is beyond all thought.” (12)
“I know all beings, Arjuna: past, present and to come. But no one knows me.” (13)
“If you ask me what Brahman [God] is like, all I can say is that It cannot be described in words. Even when one has realized Brahman, one cannot describe It. If someone asks you what ghee is like, your answer will be, ‘Ghee is like ghee.’ The only analogy for Brahman is Brahman.” (14)
“If all knowledge is of that which is and is limited to the realm of the existent, then whatever transcends being must also transcend knowledge.” (15)
St John of the Cross
“God is … a dark night to man in this life.” (16)
Although we don’t know it, we’re drawn to It by an ineluctable longing for liberation. (17) Even Archangel Michael himself said that the longing for liberation impacted archangels and described the impact on himself. But let me leave that for another article.
(1) We’ll eventually have a transcript of that conversation.
(2) He reassured me that when they left the body they did not need to continue with the human rung of evolution but could return to the angelic realm.
(3) “Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha,” translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story,” at http://tinyurl.com/k5v6szk.
(4) Genesis 28:12-14.
(5) Rumi, in Anne and Christopher Fremantle, In Love with Love. 100 of the Greatest Mystical Poems. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1978., 58.
(6) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 105.
(7) Hazrat Inayat Khan, Way of Illumination. Delhi, etc.: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988, 237.
(8) Philokalia, 2, 355.
(9) Al-Ghazzali in The Alchemy of Happiness. trans. Claud Field. Lahore: ASHRAF, 1971; c1964, 17.
(10) Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins,Light on the Path and an Essay on Karma. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974, 11-2.
(11) Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ. Three vols. Dallas: Amrita Foundation, 1979, 1, 16.
(12) Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 47.
(13) Sri Krishna in BG, 73.
(14) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 920.
(15) Pseudo-Dionysius in Cohn Luibheid, trans., Pseudo-Dionysus, His Complete Works.New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989, 53.
(16) St. John of the Cross in Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, trans. Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1973., 75.
(17) “The Longing for Liberation” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/the-longing-for-liberation/.