Spiritual Law – part 1

There might be a sense of the withering of the law in today’s times, in the sense that old standards and old regulations have fallen away and they haven’t quite been replaced by what is emerging in the future; what future laws will govern us.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way, with new eyes. So, stay with us and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. Our topic for today is spiritual law — part one. We tend to give the tangible, the physical and that which we can see, touch and feel a lot more credibility. However, spirituality should be given a lot of credibility also—spiritual law, that is. I think it’s good for our own well-being and our own consciousness and also it probably is a catalyst to our own growth if we can accept and assimilate the idea that there are spiritual laws and there are consequences to not following them. Some may be good or bad consequences. There are so many of these spiritual laws spoken about in the Bhagavad Gita and the law we’re going to talk about today is hinted at in this statement from the Bhagavad Gita and I quote, “Whenever there is a withering of the law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest Myself. For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil, for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth age after age.” What is law in the spiritual sense? And I’d also like you to make a comment about the Bhagavad Gita, for people who aren’t familiar with that. 

Sarah: The Bhagavad Gita is the great Hindu religious text that documents the ancient battle between the two sides of warring tribes in which the disciple Arjuna was involved, and he had to take a stand. Krishna was his mentor and adviser, and it’s Krishna speaking in this statement, “Whenever there is a withering of the law and an uprising of lawlessness, then I manifest Myself… for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth age after age.” Krishna in this particular instance is speaking as the World Teacher—as the Avatar, one could say, if people are familiar with that term—of a great Being who comes periodically to humanity to remind us about the working of spiritual law and to help us live more attuned to spiritual law. And the whole of human history viewed in this way is a depiction of humanity gradually being uplifted in consciousness to greater and greater cooperation with higher and higher spiritual laws. We speak of the “law of the jungle” as a kind of a metaphor to describe people who react to life and to their wants and desires on a very primitive level, and spiritual law is the opposite polarity. I suppose its most obvious expression is the conscience, which is that little voice inside the heads of most of us that tells us when we have done something that we know was not in line with our highest knowledge, our highest understanding. To me, that’s the expression of spiritual law in a very rudimentary sense. 

Dale: Yes, it’s as you said at the beginning, kind of an ephemeral thing. It’s difficult to put your finger on it, but we’re all subject to spiritual law. We’re all products of spiritual law, and there’s one definition in the writings of Alice Bailey, for example, about spiritual law. She says, “A law is only an expression or manifestation of force or a spiritual impulse applied under the power of thought by a thinker or a group of thinkers.” Here we have a definition of a spiritual law saying that it is simply an impulse or a manifestation of force, an expression of force that has been set in motion on the inner planes to govern the manifestation of life as it works out physically and tangibly in the world. So that’s another way of looking at this whole vast body of laws that we’re talking about today. 

Sarah: Well, coming back to this expression in the Bhagavad Gita, the “withering of the law” probably defines how a lot of people feel about the present age. There’s a sense, I think, among many people, that laws no longer apply. The laws that governed their youth, the laws to which they were subjected, don’t seem to apply to today’s times, and that people are basically just running amok. That’s a complaint, I suppose, of every generation that looks back at the younger generation coming along. But there might be that sense of the withering of the law in today’s times, in the sense that old standards and old regulations have fallen away and they haven’t quite been replaced by what is emerging in the future; what future laws will govern us. I think we’re in a kind of a transitional state, and there is a widespread sense that the laws which we live by, the standards of human conduct, the standards of human relationships, the standards of goodness and decency and rightness have been thrown up for rethinking and reconsideration. And yet we are all subjected to law. As you say, an obvious one is the law of gravity. You can’t see it, but when you break it, you know — with a thud. (laughter) 

Robert: It will certainly come back to haunt us! (laughter) And the same thing is true with spiritual laws. If we break spiritual laws, the breaking of them could come back to haunt us too. 

Sarah: Yes, and I think all of us have a very keen sense of when we break the law. I really think that children should be taught from a very early age to listen to their conscience much more, because I think there is that inner perception in very young children of what’s right and wrong. There’s a particular age in the development of a human being when they really get fixed on law. I don’t know if it’s when they’re about three, or if it’s a little older, but psychologists have documented that at a particular age in the development of the human being they are very quick to point out that somebody got away with something, and it wasn’t right! (laughter) Well, that’s the awakening of the consciousness and the sense of law and order in life. And they want a very orderly world at that age. It’s a human impulse. 

Robert: I think people certainly can comprehend the simulated man-made law because it’s based on the tangible, but does a spiritual law have any relation to man-made law? 

Sarah: Sometimes I think it can. There’s the statement — I think it was Jesus who said it — “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” We are all governed by both material or man-made laws, and spiritual laws, and we have to honour both. 

Dale: Yes, man-made law, I would say is probably a reflection of these inner spiritual laws. We create laws because of this inner desire, this inner impulse to regulate and to create order in our lives. So, we have thousands and thousands of laws and regulations set up, just as God has laws and regulations that govern his creations. God is creating a planetary life, a form that has to be regulated according to certain spiritual laws and we’re all subject to these laws, as we said before. But it comes down to this ancient saying, “As above, so below.” There are laws above and there are equally laws here below — man made laws — and that’s why we have them, because it’s a deep spiritual impulse to create law. 

Sarah: It’s a way I think that human beings have of imposing order on the world and of bringing human activity into alignment with what they think is divine purpose, and I think that’s why law has to evolve and change and transform itself as humanity itself evolves and expands in consciousness. The old laws don’t apply in more modern and more spiritually advanced times, and that’s why I think there’s a lot of reconsideration of the law today because we are moving into a new age and a new era and the old standards, the old laws, aren’t so universally appropriate. But we are attempting to make man-made laws more in line with spiritual values. One example is the increasing attention being given to the World Court which was established by the United Nations in The Hague in Holland. It’s very interesting to see the reaction of the different nations of the world, to their willingness or lack of willingness to cooperate and to submit to the World Court. Some nations are willing to put their cases to the World Court. For example: there was a boundaries dispute between Ecuador and Peru that both nations have fought over for years. I might be wrong on this, but I think those were the two nations or maybe I’m thinking of Nicaragua and Honduras. I’m sorry to be vague on that point, but anyway, the two quarreling nations finally decided to turn the dispute over the boundary to the World Court. Other cases that are going to the World Court involve the environment, which can’t be contained within national boundaries. When we misuse the environment it spreads to other nations, and that’s a natural case to bring before the World Court. Drug trafficking, money laundering; the Law of the Sea Treaty was a successful example of international agreement on laws; the rights of children is another issue where we haven’t achieved much agreement. 

Dale: I think a lot of these new laws — at least in the past several decades since the end of World War II — are becoming international laws and I think that is a good thing because it makes us aware of just how interrelated all of us are in terms of people and in terms of nations, and if we don’t live by certain laws and have a willingness to obey the laws, then there will be chaos in the world. So, this is a way of regulating the flow of trade and the flow of goods and the flow of money around the world, and as long as everybody is obeying these laws and playing by the rules, then everything works smoothly. 

Sarah: But there’s a lot of controversy, too, and a lot of resistance on the part of many nations to submit to an international court. It’s not so easy to come to agreement on universal standards and values and laws. But I think it’s a deeply spiritual endeavor, and I think it’s fascinating to watch it progress. 

Robert: Can you give us some examples of spiritual law because there might be people out there who wonder what spiritual law is. 

Sarah: Well, a very obvious example is the Ten Commandments that I think most people are familiar with. It’s called the Mosaic Code or the Mosaic Law. That’s an example of spiritual law. The Golden rule is another example: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I think the Golden Rule is found in some form or another in virtually every religion in the world. It’s a universally recognized law that boils down to, treat others as you would like them to treat you. There’s a law that Rabbi Hillel said topped them all and that was, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” He said, “That is the whole law and all the rest is commentary.” Love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Dale: You know, love is — we sort of take that for granted but — actually one of those deep spiritual laws that governs all life upon this planet, oddly enough. We may find that hard to believe, but what is working out on planet Earth is a great expression of divine love and that’s a very basic law that conditions all life here, including human beings and the animal kingdom and all the other kingdoms. 

Sarah: Could you say that all human misery is caused by our lack of obeyance of this law? 

Dale: Yeah, you could say that. I think it’s withering. That’s an example where there is a withering of the law and the breaking of the law. 

Sarah: And we pay the consequences. 

Dale: We pay the consequences, and that brings up other laws. This is discussed quite thoroughly in many of the Alice Bailey books, and if anyone is really interested in looking into spiritual law, one of the books—Esoteric Psychology—would be one to start with. There are literally hundreds of these laws and they all have different names, like the Law of Cause and Effect. For every effect there is a basic cause. The Law of Evolution, and there’s some question about that in some people’s minds, but everything is evolving and moving ahead slowly and slowly. There is the Law of Karma which we’ve talked about before on these shows and the Law of Rebirth or more commonly called reincarnation. There are any number of these laws and in subsequent programs we’ll be going into these laws in more detail, but those are just a few that we have to be dealing with all the time. 

Sarah: So, stay tuned and we’ll talk ad nauseam about law, won’t we? 

Dale: More than you ever want to know about law! (laughter) 

Sarah: Alice Bailey said an interesting thing that I came across: she said, “A new law is needed and it is, let a person so live that his life is harmless.” That would be an interesting rule to live by. Harmlessness would be a way to alleviate a lot of human woe. But there’s some interesting phenomenon going on in the world today, and there is, I think, a growing interest in law and legislation. Not only is there the World Court, but on a more mundane level there’s a lot of interest in entertainment about law—programs that appear on television, in movies, best-selling novels that feature, at the base of the plot, the question of law. I think people are fascinated by the subject. And the legislation that goes on in democracies absorbs the attention of a lot of us, as it should. I think we’re at a point in our development where we are having to take a more active part in law. That’s the whole point of a democracy; that it has to be participatory and we can’t just leave it up to a few people to make the decisions for us. We have to pay attention and understand the basic principles. 

Dale: Yes. And if we don’t, there’ll be chaos. You can’t drive down the road without obeying certain laws and if you don’t obey the laws, then there’ll be a huge pile up. (laughter) You can’t go into space, for example, without following the laws that govern the solar system and the laws of mechanics that govern the flow of planets around each other, and the cosmic law. We can’t avoid these laws. 

Sarah: And maybe you could say that in the last one hundred or one hundred fifty years humanity has really made tremendous progress in identifying scientific laws, like space and so on; that it has plumbed the depths of those laws, and maybe it’s ready now for a deeper understanding of moral and spiritual law. I think we have reached the point where we realize that it’s not just a matter of enforcement. Goodness knows, we’ve tried that in this society. “Lock them up and make them pay the price” really hasn’t solved the problem. Crime seems to be increasing in many segments of society, so something else is needed. I think there’s a clue given in the writings of Alice Bailey: that the law has to become the custodian of a positive righteousness and not just a responsive enforcement. In other words, the law has to be obeyed because it evokes within the human being a sense of its rightness, and his willingness to cooperate with it. And that has to start with very young children. 

Robert: Is our daily life affected by these spiritual laws? 

Sarah: Probably far more than we know. We can begin to identify how the law works in our lives if we adopt that practice of the daily review at the end of each day. 

Robert: I like that, yeah. Would you tell us about that once again? 

Sarah: I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a practice of reviewing one’s day going backwards, from events and outcomes back to probable causes, and that’s where you can begin to discover your obedience to or disobedience to certain spiritual laws. Things happen because I did not obey the Law of Love, because I did not obey the Law of Right Speech or Harmlessness, or whatever. So, reviewing actions and tracing them back to their causes can help one to see laws that works out in one’s own life. 

Dale: Yes. And another obvious law is the one I mentioned earlier, the Law of Rebirth, more commonly called reincarnation. Everybody is in this world as a result of this law. We’re sitting here now, and you are sitting at home as a result of this law. It is a law that is obeyed by the soul, and it places you in a particular place in the world at a particular time to work out certain things, having to do with karma probably, which is another law. And all these laws are following the path of evolution, which is another law. So, if we think about our lives, we are totally caught up in one law or another. We just can’t avoid them. 

Sarah: And the goal in a spiritual development is to become your own legislator, to not leave it up to society or the courts or the police to keep you in line, but to become your own monitor of your behaviour and your relationships. That’s using the law in the sense that the soul would wield it, and that’s where the daily review can help one to begin to see how you cooperate with, or don’t cooperate with, God’s plan. There is a plan for each of our lives and the breaking of the law is the avoidance of that plan. For example, if our soul has a goal and a purpose in mind for us that we fail to observe, we are breaking the law, we are not being obedient to our highest intentions, and for each of us that has to be determined by ourselves, it can’t be told to us by another. But it is our objective to become more and more aware of that internal guiding law. 

Robert: You’ve been listening to Inner Sight. Now we would like to close with 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)




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