As spirituality becomes more private and esoteric it inspires deeper skepticism among modern people. Words like "science" and "reason" are used as counters to "faith" and "irrationality." It's as if the two roads must diverge. But the truth is more complex. Higher spiritual states continue to manifest today as they have in every age. Anyone who seriously seeks for evidence of miracles, divine communication, ecstasy, epiphanies, etc. can find these phenomena today. At the same time, far from abolishing the superstition of religious phenomena, cutting-edge science has done more in recent decades to validate them than to explain them away. The scathing angry rebuke of skeptics has become irrelevant to modern spirituality because it is so far behind the times. The fusion of reason and spirituality continues to progress.
This is preface to Path #5, in which remarkable things begin to occur, altering any hard-and-fast distinction between inner and outer reality. Path #4 brought the birth of intuition and subtle perception, the ability to see beyond the five senses. The next step is for this ability to expand into subtle action, the ability to change external events through thought and intention.
Path #5 -- Seeking Creativity, Freedom, Uniqueness
The primary need on Path #5 is for spiritual uniqueness. The person wants to rise to the level of co-creator with God, causing change in the world through direct intention. This creative ambition may be private and personal or public and far-reaching. Some groups, for example, gather to meditate at points of world crisis to bring coherence to the collective consciousness. Others campaign to bring about a "critical mass: or "tipping point" in consciousness that will end war. But the ground of all this effort is a realization that merely having an intention, if it is positive and profound, can make a difference.
Some people on Path #5 have no interest in public causes. They are deeply involved in their own consciousness, exploring just how much power lies in wishes and intentions, prayers and healing, manifestation of desires and possible miracles. To the extent that these are "irrational" enterprises, such people find themselves disapproved of or even considered delusional. Yet it's undeniable that every world religion is based on exactly these things, so the real issue comes down to deserving. What makes you think you can perform a miracle or healing when such things are reserved only for Jesus, Buddha, selected saints, and so forth?
On Path #5 each person must wrestle with this issue of deserving, but eventually the growth of consciousness is unstoppable. Inner and outer reality are seen to have the same basis; therefore both are malleable at the deepest level of awareness. To reach this stage, however, one must give up all prejudices in favor of materialism. As long as a rock seems immune to thought because it is solid and three-dimensional, it will be immune, and the status of co-creator with God will be undeveloped. However rare, there are people who successfully attain the goal of Path #5, which is spiritual freedom, the capacity to live beyond external boundaries. For the rest of us, finding that our wishes and dreams can come true is a sporadic but highly encouraging indication of what's possible.
Every path has its built-in contradictions, and so does Path #5. They tend to center on the mystery of identity.
--I can make my intentions materialize, but at the same time the things I actually want are rapidly diminishing.
--I can help humanity, but humanity doesn't seem to accept me anymore. I am an outsider, a meddler in the everyday agenda of the ego.
--The more I understand the self, the more my own self is dissolving.
These are subtle issues, and they are lost on people who haven't seriously encountered the mind's ability to manifest and the ego's ability to give up the incessant claims of I, me, and mine. To someone on Path #5, however, they are crucial matters. I find the Buddhist term "ego death" too harsh, but in essence that is the problem at the heart of this path. However the person resolves the mystery of the self, a door has opened to supernatural and superhuman realms, which suddenly seem very natural and all too human. The only danger remaining is that the entire material world may dissolve and become a dream, with no reason left to participate in it. (To be continued)