Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of May 11, 2020

Elements of Our World Soul

(Serving Our World Soul: 1)

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If we are to serve our World Soul well, we need a vision of what it is, its current state, and what we might hope it will become. For this, we can take as a guide the ancient maxim, "as above, so below," although we make the converse leap, taking the state of things here below as indicative of the state of things above.

Just as we humans have a body and a potential soul, our planet has a body and a developing soul. The body for our World Soul is our Earth, or more specifically the biosphere, or even more specifically the human race. We also know that the individual human soul has certain elements, namely inner, spiritual energies and will. We take these as a reflection of the elements of the World Soul. We know, for example from our practice of energy breathing, that the air all around us contains sensitive energy. That energy, permeating our planet's atmosphere, must be a basic element of the World Soul. We know from our work with the conscious energy, that this energy of substantive cognizant stillness has no boundaries and is not contained in us, rather we are contained in it. That boundless energy must also be a basic element of the World Soul. Each of us has will, which is fundamentally who we are. Our collective will, such as it is, must also be an element the World Soul.

So, if we see that the World Soul consists of inner, spiritual energies and will, we begin to have an actionable picture of it. As with us individually, our collective soul energies include the sensitive and conscious energies, while the process of soul development also concerns the energies of the Sacred Light and the Unitive or Love.

Just as we can guess the state of someone's soul by their actions, we find clues to the state of our World Soul by looking at the state of global humanity. Our personal, illusory world view of being separate from everyone else, due to which we descend into egoism, greed, and hatred, and all our competing, contradictory desires, due to which we descend into confusion and dispersion, reflect our fragmentary, splintered, unformed, personal soul. Similarly, our world-wide, deep divisions in political, racial, religious, and nationalistic terms, as well as our crime and incarceration rates, surely reflect the fragmentary, splintered, and unformed state of our World Soul.

Yet… a more careful look and some historical context reveal a more nuanced and hopeful picture, a picture of an evolving humanity and thus an evolving World Soul. As evidence for this positive, evolutionary view, we look to three modern researchers.

Not all important news is bad. Hans Rosling [1] and Steven Pinker [2] present data on a wide range of global measures of human well-being. Their work shows massive improvements for society over hundreds of years, continuing to this day, and supports the view that humanity is progressing and evolving. Their data shows setbacks, for example due to pandemics, but those setbacks prove temporary in the long march of history and global evolution. Of course, major problems still confront humanity, most obviously climate change and the remaining poverty. Given our history, it seems a safe bet that we will find a way to work through these as well. While world poverty has diminished by almost half over recent decades, too many people still suffer from it. The level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere confronts us with a global challenge of growing urgency, a challenge that is pushing humanity toward increased cooperation for the common good, toward a more responsible, enlightened, and evolved society.

Eric Chaisson [3] traces evolution as the march of Big History, in terms of increasing complexity from the Big Bang to human culture. His work shows us a universal context for our evolving selves and our evolving planet, a context we can interpret as offering the hope of help for our planet from higher, spiritual powers.

These external indicators of evolution point to the spiritual underpinnings and challenges of humanity's evolution. The primary issues lie in the realm of will. [4] We are helped by higher will. We are developing the great Global Will of the Earth. And we are challenged by the splintered, competing, and antagonistic self-centered and group-centered wills of individuals, tribes, political parties, and nations. From this we can see that the Global Will of humanity, though evolving, remains at an early stage of its development. Helping move that evolution forward, even in our own small way, is our sacred obligation as responsible participants in the human adventure.

For this week, please take another look at the global situation. How could it be improved, inwardly and outwardly?

[1] Hans Rosling; Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

[2] Steven Pinker; Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

[3] Eric J. Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001)

[4] J.G. Bennett; The Dramatic Universe, Volume 4: History


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