Evolution – part 2

Evolution, I think, depends upon the incorporation and the right relationship of the parts of life to the greater whole. That’s what we mean by the evolution of consciousness, the waking up to the fact that we are not independent living things, but parts of something much greater.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Our theme for today is evolution part 2. Our thought for today is: “The story of evolution is the story of consciousness and not of form.” That is a quote taken from the works of Alice Bailey and all of the dialogue on this show is based on her literature. Before we begin, I’d like to ask Sarah and Dale to recap for us what we discussed last time. 

Sarah: Well, we started out by defining our terms, which is always a wise thing to do. Evolution means literally an unfolding from within outwards or an unrolling from an inner centre. And this is a good description of the impact of life on form, life being the spiritual fire within form, form being the material substance that is visible and tangible. Within every form there is this inner spiritual fire that is seeking to express itself. I know we can imagine that—in the case of human beings, maybe in the case of animals and maybe even in the case of trees and plants—but this inner living fire literally is found in the atoms of every aspect of material substance. All of the material world is in a process of evolution and unfoldment, and we talked about the implications of that. We touched on the controversial nature of evolution, the fact that in some states in this country it’s not even allowed to be taught—and why is that? Well, there’s this supposed clash between the theory of evolution, which was proposed, for one, by the great scientist Darwin, and the doctrine of creationism, which brings these two different views of how life originated into apparent confrontation. But we thought, not really. When you think about it, evolution teaches that forms adapt and grow and change according to the needs of the environment, whereas creationism says that God created the world in six days according to Genesis and that’s it. 

Robert: And you’re telling us they don’t have to be in conflict? 

Dale: Well, they shouldn’t necessarily have to be in conflict because I think the truth really is a combination of both of them. That’s the way I understand it, that God the creator set in motion a process that is an evolving process, and that process is still in motion. I think if you could bring the two sides together, it could be seen that there is not that much controversy. There is just one process at work here, by a great Deity. In fact, that brings up an expression from the Bailey writings that I like very much, that describes this whole process: that evolution is “divinity in motion.” I find that to be a very revealing phrase because it kind of sums up everything that evolution is. It’s divinity in motion, because essentially it’s God working through his creation and working out this long evolving process. That’s essentially what’s going on. 

Sarah: Maybe it can be used to help us understand why sometimes species in the natural world are removed from the world; species of animals and plants that come, live and then disappear. They have their cycle and then they go. We did talk about, that there are two effects of this disappearance of species. The one is that it might be in response to natural law. The fact that divinity is in motion seems to me to suggest that it’s a process always of unfoldment and of becoming, and it’s not in any way static or set or fixed. And we know that the outer form of whatever level of life we’re talking about—human, animal, mineral, plant—is just the outer form and not the real spiritual essence, which seeks to reveal itself through the form. So, to let these forms go sometimes is to submit and to bow to God’s plan. But there’s another side to this and that is when these different species disappear because of man’s selfish and short-sighted behavior on earth. I think all of us know that humanity is guilty of a very selfish and dominating presence on Earth that has caused the disappearance of a lot of beautiful parts of the world that need to be here—not only deserve to be here, but we need them. We need the vegetable kingdom for oxygen and nutrition. We need the animal kingdom and the mineral kingdom. So, we have an impact on Earth that’s not always so beneficent. 

Robert: I find the opening thought to be interesting from the works of Alice Bailey. “The entire story of evolution is the story of consciousness and not of form.” That’s so contrary to what I learned in school. I mean, I remember my science teachers talking about forms and structure and morphology, so to speak, and here we are looking at consciousness. Could you make a comment on that? 

Dale: Well, you can actually see evolution moving if you think of it in terms of consciousness. Because human consciousness is constantly changing. Even within the span of one lifetime, we know consciousness is changing, or hopefully it does for most people. I think it does, if they are conscious at all and if they’re striving towards perfection or some betterment in their life, then they are in fact evolving. So, we are living evidence of this consciousness-evolution. 

Sarah: We also talked last time a bit about how evolution progresses and unfolds and this enters into what you’re saying because, to me, what’s interesting is that evolution depends upon the fact that every form is both a universe in itself and part of something greater. And that applies to the tiniest atom or molecule, it applies to the human being, it applies to societies as a whole. We are all a little universe and within ourselves many lives make up our universe—the atoms that make up our body, for example. But we are also at the same time a part of something much greater. Evolution, I think, depends upon the incorporation and the right relationship of the parts of life to the greater whole. That’s what we mean by the evolution of consciousness, the waking up to the fact that we are not independent living things, but parts of something much greater. And the whole problem of the world is that most human beings are not aware of being a part of a greater whole, in the sense that it imposes the obligation to strive for right relationship with others and to overcome selfishness. 

Dale: If you think again about that little quote that I mentioned before, about divinity in motion, to me what that does is lift the whole science of evolution up off the purely physical plane and puts it in the perspective of divinity, of a deity. When you begin to see it from that point of view, then it puts a whole different slant on evolution, because that defines the whole. It is divinity in motion throughout the entire earth and everything upon the earth. It’s His evolving process. 

Sarah: I suppose that the presence of divinity in evolution is what’s responsible for the fact that the writings of Alice Bailey say there’s an evolutionary urge that is innate in matter, in all material substance. I find that interesting to think about—that every tiny atom of matter has within it this innate evolutionary urge to progress and evolve. But it only becomes conscious in the case of the human being; on lower levels, the writings of Alice Bailey say, it expresses differently—for example, as radiation in the mineral kingdom, and we think of the uranium that was discovered earlier in the last century. It expresses as beauty and diversity in the vegetable kingdom and in the production of nutrition. And the spiritual impulse to evolve expresses as the overcoming of pain and suffering in the animal kingdom. 

Robert: Now would that apply to consciousness as well, once again bringing this back to the opening quote? Does consciousness within the individual have a desire to improve and perfect itself? 

Sarah: It’s a type of consciousness, I would say, this innate urge. It might not be consciousness as we human beings know it, which is the forming of thoughts. But it is an awareness, apparently on the level of even the lowest mineral form. Radiation, for example, in the mineral kingdom is an expression of a consciousness or a presence of spiritual livingness within that form. That’s to me an amazing thought.  

Dale: You see the same consciousness in a flower that turns its face to the sun. Now there’s something within that flower, the very essence that’s even more subtle than the genes perhaps, causing that flower to open from a bud to a full open flower and always turning itself to the sun to get the full rays of the sun. There is a consciousness of a sort even at that level. 

Sarah: And we talked a little bit about animals and the consciousness within animals, which I find very interesting. Especially the domesticated animals in their response to their relationship with human beings. For example, dogs, cats, and horses are conscious of and desirous of relationship with human beings who stand as higher beings to them. And the writings of Alice Bailey say that the real relationship between the human being and these domesticated animals is based not just on love, as we might think, but on the power of the mind and the impact of the human mind upon the animal. That’s how they progress. I don’t know if any of our listeners ever saw that program—it was a terribly popular program in Britain, maybe 10 or 20 years ago—with Barbara Woodhouse, who was a dog trainer. Even the most undisciplined, goofy, hopeless dogs, when brought into her care and discipline, became very good dogs. And she wasn’t the least bit sentimental with them, but the impact of her mind and her discipline on them was just what they needed and it was clear that they adored her. 

Robert: Is death a necessary part of evolution? 

Sarah: Yes, it’s part of the beneficence of evolution; that forms are created to serve the indwelling life’s intention and not the reverse. And when these forms become outworn or no longer able to fully express the indwelling life, they have to be discarded. And that’s what we know as death. It’s part of the beneficence of the process of evolution. 

Dale: Yes, it’s a necessary part because, as we’ve been discussing here, evolution really concerns consciousness and not the form. The forms come and go. And from the perspective of Deity, forms are simply there to express that which is in the mind of Deity and in the desire of Deity, which is ultimately the glory of God. So, the form is merely a vehicle for that purpose. 

Robert: Is there a spiritual goal to evolution? 

Sarah: Yes, it’s said in the writings of Alice Bailey that the goal of evolution is a gradual series of light demonstrations because, veiled or hidden by every form, lies light. And as evolution proceeds the form or the material substance becomes an increasingly better conductor of light, and that’s speaking in terms of any form, whether a human being, a society, an animal, or whatever. It’s meant to be a conductor of light. 

Dale: There is another way of looking at that spiritual goal, and that has to do with what they call involution, as opposed to evolution. You might relate it to the story in the Bible of the Prodigal Son, which is actually a story of all humanity. The Prodigal Son leaves the Father’s home and he goes down into the dense material world, and this represents a kind of in-going, a thrusting into the world, an involutional stage as they call it. There he experiences the depth and degradation, the pain and suffering that goes with the material world. Finally, he becomes very disenchanted with this. He doesn’t find what he is seeking. He in turn sets his sights towards the return back home to the Father. This is called the evolutionary stage, the upward stage back towards pure Spirit, or towards the Father in heaven. And so, that is another way to see that there is ultimately a spiritual goal, because of the many lessons learned in the material world, and then leaving that behind and progressing onward and ever upward, eventually returning to the Father. 

Sarah: I’ve never understood, though, this view that I think started with John Milton, that being born on Earth and coming into form is what is called a fall, as if it’s a mistake, a sin, or a descent into hell. Earth life is not that. We speak of heaven on earth, because that’s something we aspire to create, and evolution, I suppose, is a process of creating heaven on earth. Involution is a necessary part of this process. The coming of spirit into matter is involution for the quickening of the material realm. It’s a necessary and divine process. I think the problem is when we get stuck at that level—”we” meaning every aspect of incarnating life—when it becomes so identified with whatever form it inhabits, then it’s limited by that form. And that’s the problem that the Prodigal Son awakened to, and he said, “I must arise and go to my Father,” meaning, I realize that I am more than the limitations of my form. I am spirit, and I must make that return journey to the Father’s home. That’s the path of evolution. And everybody, every human being, every living thing, is at some stage of this journey, either further into the material realm or on the return journey to the Father’s home. 

Robert: So, what you’re saying is that perhaps in the eyes of God, a person at the stage of involution, where they’re immersed in the materialism and enjoying the material life, is not of any less value than the person on the way to a spiritual consciousness. 

Sarah: I suppose not. It all takes time and every human being is at a different stage of the way. Some people are absolutely bent on their descent into the material realm, to learn everything they have to learn about materialism. The deep involvement with the material plane, with the pursuit of material substance, whether it’s cars, stock portfolios, fame and fortune, whatever, it might be the right stage for them. The problem is when we continue to long for, or aspire to, things that we should have left behind. And for many of us, I think we stay too long in the stage of wanting to delve more deeply into material substance and to grab more of the material stuff for ourselves. 

Robert: So, if the individual soul is naturally evolving, it eventually evolves into a state of longing for spirituality and for reaching the highest potential of its own consciousness? 

Sarah: Yes, and that begins, I think, within us as the pangs of conscience, as a sense of dissatisfaction, and an urge to leave behind whatever limitations we think are holding us back from a more fulfilled life. I think it’s unfocused and undefined for a long time, yet we have this urge to find more out of life. 

Robert: So, actually, free will then is involved. At one point the individual consciousness has to more-or-less say to itself, “I’m through with the material world. I’ve gotten from it all that I want.” And then what? Then they make a leap in consciousness? 

Sarah: I think it’s more like a little step, not a leap. (laughter) 

Dale: Yes, it sets up a period of discontent first, and there is some little nagging where the conscience inside of you says, “this isn’t right, this isn’t bringing me happiness.” So, you begin to look at the situation and see that there must be more to this life, and that’s the first step on the upward path. 

Robert: Can we see the effects of evolution in terms of our own lives?  

Sarah: I think we probably all can if we look for it. We see changes, stages in our lives, cycles that we’ve gone through and left behind. I think we can also be a lot more patient with other people if we realize that everybody is at a stage of becoming something better. I remember years ago a statement that really stayed in my mind. It was said during the Democratic campaign, maybe in 1984 or maybe in 88. Jesse Jackson got into trouble for a derogatory remark he made and I remember him speaking to the Democratic Convention and apologizing. And he said, “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.” And that we have to say for all of us: “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet. My soul isn’t finished with me yet. I’m a work in progress.” If we would only be a little more merciful with each other and with societies. We’re all works in progress. 

Robert: Would it be fair to say, according to the works of Alice Bailey, that perhaps when we look at someone and we’re critical, maybe the idea should occur to us that at one point in our own evolution we were at that stage or in that particular situation? 

Dale: There but for the grace of God go I. 

Sarah: And it also means to not use just the material standard to judge other people. They may not have the success or the fame or the worldly accoutrements that we think are so meaningful, but maybe they have advanced in ways that we can only aspire to and that applies not only to individuals but to whole societies. We so often in the western world judge success in life by the amount of material wealth one has grabbed. If we look at other people in other societies, they might be infinitely richer in a spiritual sense. 

Robert: And success, to the person who is on the evolutionary path to consciousness—the higher consciousness—his attitude for success might be to be the kind of person that God wants him to be, and that might be Alice Bailey’s viewpoint too. All of our discussion today was based on the Alice Bailey book, Consciousness of the Atom. In closing, we invite you to ponder on this thought: Goodwill is the touchstone that will transform the world. Goodwill is love in action. It’s the energy that draws us together in right relationship. There is a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




Quote of the Month

“Students of the writings of Alice Bailey know that the year 2025 is anticipated to be of vital spiritual significance….” Read more….

Latest Posts

Social Media



Inner Sight

Spiritual Festivals

The Light of the Renaissance