Friday, January 29, 2016

The Attempted Hijacking of Humankind’s Progress and the Challenges We Face in this Moral Assault from Another Realm

Progress is inevitable. From everything Spiritism has to teach us, we know that as humankind advances in acquisition of knowledge and virtue, the world we call home will also change.  From books like Kardec’s The Gospel According to Spiritism and Genesis and Genesis, we’ve learned that somewhere on the horizon is a phase of planetary evolution called “regeneration”. Aware that we’ll only achieve this degree of advancement after leaving behind that which now qualifies Earth as a “world of trials and expiations”, we’re likewise ensured that divine providence affords the mechanisms and resources to guide us on this journey of spiritual growth.

Whether consciously or not, we benefit from the tireless efforts of countless angelic beings. In seeing us through the eyes of understanding and compassion, they do everything they can to help us. As Spiritists, we find tremendous comfort and inspiration in our awareness of these invisible companions. They are, in reality, none other than human spirits like ourselves (albeit in a discarnate state); however, by fruit of their own labor they have experienced a kind of joy that can only be found through the pursuit of moral dignity. Wishing to help others achieve the same, they act with the desire and commitment to serve, thus enabling their own progress and the progress of those who benefit from their care.

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With that kind of support at hand, we might look around, then, and question why our world is still so backward. Why is there still so much unhappiness and unrest?  Why are there so many souls wandering astray, one incarnation after the next, repeatedly violating the will of the conscience and causing pain to themselves and others? 

This, too, is made clear in the explanations afforded by Spiritism. Lest we not become complacent in the inspiring knowledge of our destined future state, Spiritism also teaches us that the timing at which progressive change will take place depends on the use we make – both individually and collectively - of the free will granted to us. Thus, the voices are there to call us to good, to offer wise counsel, to lend encouragement. The invisible, back-stage actors move silently behind the scenes trying to set the stage for positive outcomes in the circumstances of our daily lives. In the end however, the thoughts we nurture and the actions we take are both of our own choosing. It is, therefore, crucial for us to understand that alongside the army of unseen benefactors willing to go to battle for our awakening, there’s also a legion of opponents bent on goals that are of an entirely opposite motive.

This may come as no surprise, for indeed, Spiritism teaches us about the potential influences from unhappy spirits, whose suggestions and vibrations we attract if we are not careful with the kind of thoughts we entertain on a regular basis.  Whether they’re strangers merely drawn to us by way of vibrational affinity or adversaries from unresolved conflicts of our past lives in the material world, these spirits can exert an influence that can likewise become progressively dangerous and harmful, eventually reaching various stages of what, in Spiritism, we call obsession.

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What may not be so readily apparent, even once one begins to study Spiritism and becomes aware of this aspect spiritual influence, is just how widespread, perverse, and organized these unhappy spirits can be in their efforts to keep others from experiencing, even from pursuing, any kind of peace or happiness. For example, we’re familiar, here in the material world, with the existence of organized crime. As such, we can understand why, given that discarnate spirits are merely the same souls who at times live out incarnate lives in the material world, we find similar behaviors (both good and bad) in both realms. As such, the organized mobilization of corruption and cruelty indeed takes place not just here, but also in the spirit world. Furthermore, the targets of its actors are not limited to fellow discarnate spirits, for the material world also suffers a tremendous impact from their morally deranged intentions.

The above, in part, is the focus of explanations shared by an instructor at an educational establishment in the spiritual realm. The instructor offered these explanations to  spirit author, André Luiz, who then narrated the encompassing conversation in the second chapter of his novel, Liberationpsychographed by the medium Francisco Cândido Xavier.  

As I read through that chapter, I could not help but be reminded of a text in the book Obsession1, written by spirit author Manoel Philomeno De Miranda and psychographed by Divado Franco, in which the author writes about the existence of “gangs” in the lower regions of the spirit world. De Miranda informs that the spirits who gain positions of "power" in these organizations, "obsess other discarnate entities like themselves, who in turn become obsessors of incarnate individuals, setting up a very complex circle of communal living, exploiting one another physically and psychically.”

Are these morally debased spirits some sort of diabolic beings apart from the community of souls that you and I are a part of?  No, they are merely human spirits whose lamentable choices over the course of multiple lifetimes have lead them so far into the abyss of hopelessness and despair, accompanied by ruminating thoughts of resentment and the like, that they literally cannot fathom any other reality. And though progress is not some privilege that they’ve relinquished for all of eternity, they will not even begin the long road of redemption until they tire enough of their own circumstances to become open to the rescue support that is always there in the waiting.

Comments from the mentioned instructor to André Luiz help to explain these spirits’ current state. He informs André:

Incapable of going straight from the grave to heaven, the children of despair organize themselves into vast colonies of hate and moral misery, fighting amongst themselves for control of the earth. Like us, they possess a large, invaluable intellectual patrimony, and, as fallen angels of Science, they seek, above all, the debasement of the divine processes that guide planetary evolution.

Entrenched in the dark passions that flog their consciences, spirits whose minds are crystallized in rebelliousness try in vain to undermine the Divine Harmony, creating cysts of inferior life on the earth. They know countless ways to disturb, hurt, obscure, and destroy. They enslave the beneficent services of reincarnation in great expiatory sectors and make use of agents of discord against every embodiment of sublime purposes for which God designed our actions.[…]

Few [among incarnates] understand that death is just a modification of one’s body and fewer still are those – even the most learned religious individuals – who are wise enough to live in the physical vessel according to the superior principles they have espoused.[…]

Imperfect spirits that we still are, we follow those with whom we are attuned and we reap the rewards of ascent and victory, or the damages of descent and failure, controlled as we are by intelligences that are stronger than ours and who stay at our side in the progressive or depressive zone in which we have put ourselves.[…]

Fallen souls […], no matter who they are, do not comprise a spiritual race sentenced to languish in a demonic state of madness forever as part of the discarnate collectivity, in a completely senseless condition. No, they comingle with the terrestrial multitudes and have a strong influence on many homes and administrations. The fundamental interest of the most intelligent ones is to keep the world distracted and in the dark by encouraging ignorance and selfishness, postponing indefinitely the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

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As I read this text and reflected on both the extent of such activity and the challenges it presents for Earth’s progress given the influence on this material world, I was not only reminded of the text from Manoel Philomeno De Miranda.  Something else that came to mind is a completely different and otherwise unrelated (and non-Spiritist) book that I’ve recently been exposed to, entitled Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy2.  This book presents a disturbingly eye-opening view on current practices in smuggling and illicit trade (of all kinds imaginable), outlining just how widespread this growing, global phenomena of alarming consequences really is.  It was actually a set of interesting parallels between certain details of this book and the above concepts from Spiritist literature that inspired the title for this blog post.

A particular irony came to my mind as I read Illicit. As we all know, there are individuals and corporations, worldwide, that, whether for the sake of legal obedience or by their own moral standards, are making efforts to ensure compliance with laws and codes of conduct. The latter are intended to maintain order, establish justice, and protect people and the living world around us. Meanwhile, however, in parallel, we find a myriad of persons and entities across the globe who collaborate with one another in complete disregard for any laws or even for the moral consequences of their illicit commercial activity. As he suggests with such a title, the author of Illicit proposes that the smugglers, traffickers, and copycats are hijacking our global economy (not to mention the dignity and safety of human lives, in many cases). Reading André Luis’ text, I was reminded of that irony as I thought about the efforts that many individuals are making to live morally dignified lives, backed by the extensive support humankind receives from the spiritual realm, and, meanwhile, the juxtaposition of all this noble activity with the unfortunate determination of those unhappy “spiritual gangsters” to impede our achievement of happiness and peace.   

Another shared concept that struck me was that of a deep intertwining of two co-existing worlds. The author of Illicit, for example, made very clear the presence of a deep penetration of the illicit trade activity within the movement, mechanisms, and commercial infrastructure of legal global commerce and everyday life. Likewise, along the innumerable points touched by the networks of illicit trade, we are all (governments, citizens, financial institutions) impacted in some way and are likewise involved, willingly or unwillingly, to some degree. 

In many ways, this is not unlike the operations carried out by criminals of the spirit world, who use sophisticated networks to disseminate the object of their own trafficking activity: moral degradation. They too, infiltrate our world (in both spiritual and material dimensions) with their horrifying effects, using some of the same fundamental mechanisms that facilitate the noble work of loving souls. Through the law of affinity, mediumistic influence, the manipulation of spiritual energies, and other spiritual “tools”, these delinquent souls “smuggle” their disruptive ideas, energies, and influence into our minds, our homes, and our lives.

It is argued in Illicit  that we will not make any progress in combatting illicit trade practices if we see them only as “underground”, “black market”, and “offshore” operations. A different mentality and understanding is required because we cannot afford to imagine all this as being somehow apart from everything else. Similarly, in order to combat the dreadful influence of morally and mentally ill, discarnate spirits, we cannot view the lower vibratory zones where they’re found as being a hell that exists somewhere else and that has no involvement with the material realm we inhabit. It is critical for us to understand the mutual influence of the spiritual and material realms and to recognize the ways in which we determine the types of influences that we attract (good or bad) as well as the relationships we establish.

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At the level of undertaking described in the above-mentioned Spiritist texts, such orchestrated efforts to impede progress collectively become an assault on our planet as a whole. 

The methods of attack are the same ones we refer to when we talk about obsession in discussions focused on individuals or groups of individuals. Still, the extent of organization behind the impact that ultimately and directly reaches us as incarnate beings only reinforces the need for awareness and protection.

Spiritist knowledge is so relevant and so desperately needed. The reasons do include but go far beyond the understanding that death does not exist, the awareness that we can communicate with the spirit realm, or the knowledge that reincarnation is a reality. Even more important are the implications of such realities and what they mean for us in terms of our own responsibilities.

Knowing that there is life beyond the grave is comforting when we think about our loved ones and other benevolent spirits who support us in our worthy intentions. However, it’s also alarming when we consider that there are ill-willed spirits who can pursue a connection with us in order to cause us harm. As a result, with the further understanding that our own thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors open the doorway to the influences we receive, we realize just how important it is to nourish our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Along similar lines, reincarnation is a fascinating phenomenon to study and reflect on. However, studying about the justice of reincarnation and the ways that natural laws facilitate our long term attainment of true happiness actually gives us a new appreciation for the difficulties we endure. Furthermore, by understanding the multi-incarnation dramas that can play out until an established conflict is overcome, we perceive our relationships in a new way; we begin to see others with more compassion, and we recognize the true value of understanding and forgiveness, both for healing wounds from prior incarnations as well as in preventing the disastrous carryover of today’s conflicts, meaning into the spiritual realm (after death) or beyond (into a future incarnation). We also believe in the need to pray for our transgressors as well as those whom we ourselves have transgressed.

Finally, Spiritism never fails to remind us about our duties toward one another as children of God.  As such, De Miranda writes (though Franco’s mediumship):
Every obsessor […] is a brother of ours in the spiritual rearguard, where most of us have also been in the past. They need compassion and mercy, prayer and positive thoughts from all who are devoted to rescue work. We must offer them the opportunity for renewal and point out to them the luminous road they must travel, guided by the light of their spiritual discernment, in order to free themselves from the suffering through which they atone for their past errors.

Spiritism teaches us not to see or treat even malicious spirits as the enemy, with teachings that provide all the explanation behind such guidance. And, for example, you will find at Spiritist Centers special mediumistic sessions held specifically for the purposes of treating cases of obsession. Dedicated and trained incarnate Spiritist workers collaborate with discarnate partners in the spiritual realm and use the resource of mediumship to console and counsel suffering spirits who are often times involved in obsessive ties with one or more incarnate individuals.

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Knowledge is, indeed, power, and it is an invaluable start when it comes to addressing issues concerning spiritual obsession and the existence of “organized crime” in the spiritual dimension. Even still, without action, knowledge alone is powerless to be of any good. Therefore, let it be clear that although progress is inevitable, the pathway we take to achieve it is ours to carve out. 

Divine law will ensure that, with time, we will eventually climb to reach the peak of spiritual progress. However, our own choices over the span of countless incarnations will determine how windy our course at times may become and how deep the valleys we travel through may get before we finally rise and make our way to the top. If we disregard the compass of our conscience and we descend into those valleys, we will encounter the kind of company that inhabits the corresponding zones of the lower spiritual realms.

To combat these negative influences, we must continue to study and disseminate Spiritism, where we find eye-opening knowledge about these realities of spiritual life. Even more important is that we put Spiritism’s teachings into practice. This is necessary in order liberate ourselves from the binding threads of bitterness and unrest sown through the conflicts of our past. Furthermore, it is the way in which we will effectively protect ourselves today, while ensuring our gradual progress toward the true happiness of tomorrow.

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always

1 De Miranda, Manoel Philomeno [spirit Author], Franco, Divaldo P. [Medium]. 1980 Obsession. (translation of "Grilhoes Partidos). Trans. Donato Ely J. and Miranda, Herminio C. Salvador, Ba, Brazil. Centro Espirita "Caminho da Redenção". 15-16.
2 Mosés, Naím. 2005. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy. New York: Anchor Books.

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