Have you ever wondered how you can be clear in your spiritual goals and intentions and yet stumble over their realization? Seemingly betrayed by body or mind?
We are complex, as Walt Whitman said “I am large, I contain multitudes”, and therefore capable of self-contradiction.
We are in fact beings at the intersection of several different evolutionary paths. Part of the challenge of living a lifetime in a human body arises out of this, and part of our ability to contradict ourselves also.
We are generally familiar with the concept of physical evolution, that our bodies have grown and changed over time. Do we consider what changes are yet in store?
The yogis tell us that we are made like Russian dolls, in layers, like onions. We have a series of bodies of which the physical is just the first, the densest. There are seven altogether, of which the first, second, and third are mortal, passing away in the transition that we call death. Conversely they are created anew each time a “soul” is born into a “body”.
Besides the physical these comprise the emotional body, and first mental body, including the subconscious and what we usually call the conscious mind. The evolution of the human species on the planet Earth involves all three of these. The energetic emotional and mental structures, which we embody the subconscious and the conscious minds, have evolved over time, parallel to the physical body. They have primal directives that arise out of the survival necessities of evolution, encoded in our software (what we might call the operating system) as well as our hardware. This is one evolutionary path.
Intersecting this is the path of experience and evolution our energetic “spiritual” essence which is made up of the fourth through the seventh yogic bodies, the supermental being the densest of these. This second path is one that moves from lifetime to lifetime, pursuing goals and objectives that include self-discovery, education and the completion of things carried over from other lifetimes.
So a soul comes into a body which will express its nature and allow it to undergo various experiences, but a body which also has a genetic history, an operating system that has a long history, and is rooted in the distant past. We begin to see the the potential for conflict here.
The body which the soul creates for itself, is born of a mother and a father. There is a social context which is the third strand of the braid of evolution. In the process of growing up, during which the physical body completes itself, and the emotional and mental bodies form largely after our birth, we are imprinted with the patterns and energetic pictures of our family, our society, and our native culture. One might call this the applications software loaded over the operating system.
Social and cultural evolution, family history and patterns of emotional and mental behavior, are passed along energetically; as surely as the physical genes. Aspects of the parents are passed along unto the sixth or seventh generation in this fashion.
Each human being, each of us, is the result of the intersection of these three streams of evolution. While they affect each other and often parallel each other, they operate under different rules, different imperatives. Thus we are large, and capable of self-contradiction. It is in this crucible of clash and cohesion that we learn and grow as souls.
In particular as spiritual beings pursuing our own spiritual path we should not neglect the human aspects of our evolution, both individual and collective. They frame the issues and lessons which we are healing or learning. They also form the tools with which we experience our life and carry out our tasks. It is generally more effective and beneficial to learn them, to embrace them, and then guide them in a direction that pleases our soul.
It is very hard to overcome the momentum of millions of years with shear will. Judging aspects of ourselves, our bodies, our emotions, our egos, causes them to resist our will. When we can understand how they operate, accept them as they are, we can begin to reprogram them, to come to a more cooperative arrangement, in which we let them take care of tasks for which they are suited, guiding them gently and with persuasion.
Thus through awareness and acceptance we can unify our aspects, our multitudes, and therein find a fuller expression of our spirits, our souls. In the unity of the multitudes lies our full power for experience and action in the world.