Consider for a moment the nature of human memory. At present the mainstream thinking about memory implies some kind of 'storage' either in the chemistry or the electrical networks of the brain. This is not how we experience it, however. Our ability to experience our own past, in the present, varies considerably from individual to individual, and can vary equally significantly within a single individual's experience.
Normally I can remember only superficially vast parts of my own life, for example. Yet, under special circumstances (in one particular case a long illness) during which I entered 'memory' quite consciously and with great concentration for several hours at a time, I was able to recall a great deal of the sought-after past events. The events seemed in fact to be 'tied' to each other in some kind of way, and once a certain level of remembering was achieved I was able to move around at the same depth with a remarkable amount of ease. To my experience then (regardless of current theory) my own inwardness seems as well to be a landscape of considerable variety, around which I can with effort and practice learn to move with much freedom.
Let us imagine then, that Nature's Being, the World's inside, also has consciousness, purpose, and memory. If this Being is of another order higher then we are, might not its 'memory' be of an equally unusual order. And, if the seer, through developing his own inwardness learns to commune with this Being, may not the seer be by grace granted a certain freedom to move around in the World's Memory (c.f. Steiner's Cosmic Memory)? With this in mind let us take up the main theme of this chapter.
It should already be obvious from an earlier remark that I am not referring to the modern Christian faiths, Catholic, Protestant, Eastern, Fundamentalist, whatever. Most people are aware that between what many churches practice and the actual teachings of the Gospels there are frequent gaps. This is another problem with depths and subtleties that cannot be explored here. Regardless, let us begin with an unusual fact perhaps noticed in the 1960's in America, but not yet really appreciated.
There has seemed to be no comparable Christian counterpart to the depth meditative disciplines of the (cultural) East, whether it be Yoga, or Tibetan or Zen Buddhism. Granted there are Christian contemplative orders, but no teachers claiming and or teaching enlightenment. Are there such? Does Christianity have a comparable achievement?
And even today this is no insignificant question, just consider the following as reported in the Boston Globe newspaper in December of 1990. The story reveals that a Carthusian priest, a monk in a Catholic contemplative order, had just completed seven years training in the meditation practices of Vipassana Buddhism. The priest, Rev. Denys Rackley, is quoted as saying: "What Christians need...is practical knowledge...of preparing the mind for spiritual experience, something almost entirely unknown in the West."
It is understandable why he believes this (see references later in appendix to the denial of knowledge of Steiner - and others - by the Catholic Church), but it is not true. The depth meditative practices with Christian understanding are not unknown, but one does have to look for them rather then look to the East. Father Denys is also quoted as saying: "...as long as you're functioning at the level of the rational, thinking mind, you're not really into the heart of the spiritual life."
This is the Buddhist view, but as I suggested earlier, thinking can in fact lead to direct spiritual experience. And for the Christian, to abandon his congitive capacities in the manner of Eastern meditative practices is to take a step away from the direction and goal of Christian meditation and prayer: The development of the "Not I, but Christ in me" (see in this regard the letters of St. Paul).
In the (cultural) West the term comparable to enlightenment is initiation; an enlightened one would be called an initiate. These are by the way not exactly equivalent experiences, nor is the related discipline's goal the same, or the cosmological point of view either. Only the level of depth of experience is comparable. Moreover, because the Christian initiate is compelled by direct experience to recognize reincarnation (repeated earth lives) and karma, there is a serious gap between this depth Christianity and the present view of the Churches, which not only do not believe, but in many instances actively deny the spiritual validity of these truths (reincarnation and karma). It is in fact one of the objectives of the present Christian initiates to set in motion, in this century just passing, the necessary preconditions to bridge this gap and to bring Christian cosmology more in line with the truth, and indirectly with the Eastern view.
Reincarnation "...is a fact which is either known through experience or is ignored...ignorance of reincarnation often has very profound and even sublime reasons...Everything depends upon the interpretation. One can interpret it [reincarnation] in such a way as to make it a hymn to the glory of God...one says: to forgive is to grant the opportunity to begin again; God forgives more than seventy-times-seven, always granting us opportunities anew - what infinite goodness of God!" (Meditations on the Tarot: a Journey into Christian Hermeticism; author anonymous, New York, l985) This is one of the reasons why this time is so significant for Christianity. Its hidden depths are now being gradually revealed.
In this century there are two particular personalities, two Christian initiates, whose work as yet lies outside the life of the Churches, outside the more readily perceivable aspects of Christian religion. Moreover, these individualities are not Christian by belief (distinguishing belief from faith, which as I suggested earlier is a fundamental power in the universe), but rather by experience. It is the direct experience of the living Being of Christ which inhabits their work. One of these individuals we have already encountered, Rudolf Steiner. The other is a man named Valentin Tomberg.
About both there will be more to say, but first we must acknowledge a genuine question: What distinguishes these gentleman from the televangalist who claims to hear the voice of God and to speak for Him?
"By their works ye shall know them." The above question cannot be answered by argument. That Steiner and Tomberg stand in special relation to Christianity and to ordinary pastoral concerns (not belittling those at all) can be seen precisely by understanding what they have wrought, what has and is coming into being by their having lived. It is not what they preach (in fact they do not preach) rather it is their accomplishments which reveal the truth of the matter. These the reader will have to personally acquaint himself with if he wishes to form a valid judgment. Already I have described a few of Steiner's accomplishments. Some of Tomberg's and others of Steiner's will be referred to as the text continues.
By now the reader may suspect there is a relationship between this deeper Christianity and the "Sun" symbol of the Prophecy. In order to grasp this clearly we will have to take up a curious subject which for some may not seem justifiable. It will help perhaps to think of our task as somewhat like that of a mathematician. We are looking for patterns. We have on the one hand the pattern of the Prophecy, and on the other the pattern of certain modern events. What follows is part of the pattern, that is its main significance.
I am not arguing by this a proof of the Atlantean myth. Just researching the origin of the name "Atlantic Ocean" can lead to odd corners of human knowledge. Lakota Souix oral history 'remembers' such a land, which is supposed to have perished by flood, by sinking beneath the sea. Legends of a great flood are found all over the world. Anthropologically, there is the oddity of the "red clay" burial practices found at about the same geological strata on both the East coast of America, and the West coast of France (estimated dates about 5000 BC). South America abounds with names for places possibly derivative of "Atlantis" (e.g. Azetlan).
It is simply a fact that the Hopi oral history creates just this picture; and it is a fact as well that Rudolf Steiner's spiritual researches (experiences of the World's Memory) revealed to him an Atlantean time and migrations east and west by peoples fleeing the destruction of this land. Steiner's supersensible investigations also revealed to him that a certain cosmic Being had during Atlantean times His abode in the Sun, in the spiritual sphere which coexists with the physical sun. Moreover this same Being has since that time incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, from the time of the Baptism at the Jordan until the Death on the Cross. In addition this Being immediately then became the Spirit of the Earth. This is the Being known to Christian tradition as Jesus Christ, the Son of God. "The blood that issued from Christ onto the earth is precious to such a degree that he gave the earth the central position in the space of noumenal values. The geocentric cosmos is therefore true from the point of view of respiration, i.e.from the point of view of the life of prayer and benediction...the heliocentric cosmos...is false because it fails to recognize that which is truly central - the Incarnation of the Word..." (Meditations on the Tarot, p l04)
In Atlantean times this Being (the Incarnation of the Word) was known to the Hopi ancestors as the "Sun" Being. Subsequently this Being sacrifices this cosmic existence to become human, suffer and die, in order that certain necessary evolutionary steps could be taken, the principle one being that the human "I" could begin to evolve itself in Earth existence. And, that the "fall" into materialism could eventually be overcome.
This spiritual event had to precede in time the later change of consciousness which we have already described, namely that of leaving behind original participation [consciousness experiencing being within nature (and cosmos) and as part of a tribe or people, but initially lacking individuality or "I"ness.] and later entering into the transitional phase of onlooker consciousness during which the "I" discovers its freedom as a preparation toward being able to choose whether or not to go on to final participation and to learn how to experience the inwardness of the world while maintaining individuality.
All the above, of course, are again ideas of faith. That they are drawn from the lives and works of Rudolf Steiner and Valentin Tomberg will only lend them (the ideas) validity for those who have made a practical and experiential acquaintance with the teachings of these two Christian initiates (grace-sustained, active participants in the reuniting of world and word)?. Again, when we begin to weave the whole of the tapestry together in our imaginations toward the end of this book, the utility and validity of these ideas of faith - these devoted imaginations, will become more apparent.
Now the picture just presented of the "Sun" Being of the Prophecy and its relation to the Christ Being of Christian tradition, and the further evolution of this Being as the Earth Spirit is barely adequate. Words are not experiences. Our usual manner of thinking is limited and we now need to deepen our explorations of this limitation and its overcoming.