The Spiritual Kingdom
– The Prodigal Son Comes Home –
Entrance into the spiritual kingdom is a triumphant moment in the soul’s long evolutionary journey. For aeons, the spirit struggles to evolve through the four lower kingdoms in nature (mineral, plant, animal and human). When it finally arrives in the human kingdom, life begins its inward turn (introspection), and the inner self is eventually discovered. Then, toward the end of the human experience, a faint stirring begins to be sensed deep within one’s consciousness. It is an inner expansiveness, profoundly impersonal, and seems transcendent to all that was believed to be real. Integration into this transcendent state is what earns one the right of passage into the next tier of existence, the spiritual kingdom. Sometimes called the Kingdom of Souls, this domain of life represents the apotheosis of the soul’s development. Ironically, it is also the place from which the soul departed when it began its long sojourn in distant ages past. The spiritual kingdom is the soul’s destined residence, once it has fully flowered and perfected itself. When at last it has done this, the soul then returns to the place of its birth. The prodigal son comes home.
Toward the latter part of the human journey, an individual will step onto the path and begin a deliberate regime of development leading to eventual enlightenment. This indicates that one has chosen to consciously take his/her spiritual development in tow. No longer do the dictates of entrenched religion provide the circumstance needed for spiritual growth. Faith gradually gives way to an authentic experience of the soul deep within. Spiritual development then becomes an active process. The soul has been inwardly sensed, and dedication toward it becomes the preoccupation of one’s life. To consciously step onto the path does not mean, however, that one has fully entered into the spiritual kingdom. Such admittance requires complete purification and freedom from karma. A tall order to be sure. Nonetheless, it does suggest that s/he has stepped into the aura of this higher kingdom, and from that day forward, life is never the same.
Those who have attained enlightenment are the residents of the spiritual kingdom. They represent those men and women throughout history who have risen to their soul’s full potential, and were able to express their inner light without distortion. Their influence in the world has been profound. Such people as Jesus, Buddha and Lao Tsu are just a few obvious examples, but there have been many. Their names are legend. Sacrificial service in support of human upliftment is their sole objective, and this without waiver. In the esoteric tradition, these advanced beings are understood as the vanguard of our human family, and are referred to as the Masters of Wisdom.
Though now these great souls are fully enlightened, this was not always the case. For long, they too, had traveled through the human kingdom, struggling with the same handicaps and limitations that we face today. Yet they learned to rise above these tendencies. They realized that the outer threefold personality (mental, emotional and physical) had many distortions (often quite subtle), and that true liberation could only occur when these hindrances were purified and transcended. Purification became the keynote of their lives. Meditation also was central to their strivings. By weaving meditation into the fabric of their lives, they learned to detach from outer form, thus making it possible to identify with the inner life (soul). Through these two disciplines (purification and meditative detachment) they found the formula that would liberate them from form-bound existence. The many spiritual systems found in the world today are simply the legacy of their wisdom and experience. Verily, they are the guides to our own eventual enlightenment, and have blazed a trail before us.
As a totality, this body of liberated souls is called the Spiritual Hierarchy. In its ranks are found grades of enlightened entities, all in service to humanity’s betterment. The Hierarchy is composed of seven great ashrams, each having a unique responsibility in assisting humanity’s evolution. Each is responsible for inspiring human thought along some particular line or department of human existence, and each has a Master of Wisdom at its head. Overseeing the entire Hierarchy (which includes all seven ashrams) is found the Maitreya Christ, a being who is said to be the master of masters, and the “teacher alike of angels and of men.” Fundamentally, all of the ashrams are subservient to His wisdom and purposeful intention.
At this point it is perhaps important to note that every human soul is destined to assimilate into one of these seven ashrams. As earlier stated, the destiny of the soul is to return to its spiritual home, and the ashram is that home. Full assimilation into the ashram is indication that one is now living within the spiritual kingdom. When walking the path of discipleship, a person’s spiritual calling will be related to the purpose of the ashram into which the soul is destined to assimilate someday. It may, therefore, be well to briefly convey the role each ashram plays in support of the Christ’s yearning to uplift humanity. By so doing, the reader may gain insight as to which ashram his/her soul has probationary membership.
The Ashram of Will and Power
This ashramic group is responsible for inspiring human thought along the lines of statesmanship, government, diplomacy and politics, as well as all forms of leadership. Fundamentally, its radiation inspires certain groups of people to lead humanity toward its divine heritage, and this, with strength, courage and one-pointed vision. These liberated beings promote the development of will, and its expression in love. It is an ashram focused upon humanity’s unfolding purpose, as that purpose is realized over time.
The Ashram of Love and Wisdom
This ashram is responsible for various educational initiatives operating throughout the world today. It also provides humanity with new insights related to the art of healing. In addition, it inspires new and progressive spiritual movements in response to humanity’s yearning for meaning in life. Broadly speaking, it is the ashram that seeks to condition human thought with the wisdom and vision needed in order to recognize the unity and sacredness of all things.
The Ashram of Active Intelligence
This group of enlightened beings is involved in the economic affairs of humanity. Its role is to establish the kind of policies and procedures that will provide sustenance to all life upon our planet. Sustainable social and economic systems are what it seeks to convey to those who are destined to receive its intuitive impressions. Establishing right distribution of resources in support of sustainable economy is therefore its divine objective.
The Ashram of Harmony through Conflict
This ashram is responsible for assisting humanity to find resolution to its many internal and external conflicts. Its role is to support a balanced relationship between oppositional forces within the human kingdom. Through its radiatory influence, it intuitively inspires certain groups of people to act as intermediaries. The United Nations is a tangible expression of this ashram’s efforts. Artistic expression, as a means of revealing divinity, is also under its mandate.
The Ashram of Concrete Knowledge and Science
Under the influence of this ashram, humanity is maturing in its relationship to science. It inspires people to utilize the power of their reasoning minds in order to find solutions to humanity’s many and diverse problems. In addition, this ashram supports intelligent ideas that, if implemented, will improve the standard of living for people everywhere. Acquisition of knowledge is therefore emphasized, particularly as that knowledge can be applied to human betterment.
The Ashram of Idealism and Devotion
This group of liberated beings is focused upon the task of assisting humanity to evolve toward its higher ideals. People having affinity with this ashram are inclined to devote themselves to causes that support the betterment of some aspect of life upon our planet. Religion is also governed by this ashram, particularly as it relates to its espoused ideals, and the sacrificial service that emerges because of those ideals.
The Ashram of Ceremonial Order
Through the influence of this ashram, the power to rightly organize outer form in support of human evolution is offered. This group directs its influence in support of humanity’s growing ability to bring higher truths into dense tangible expression with precision and efficiency. All administrative structures within civilization are conditioned by this ashram. It also impulses humanity in its practice of ritual and ceremony, and this for the purpose of giving pattern and form to sacred truth.
The seven ashrams (of the spiritual kingdom) are found in the intuitional realms of consciousness. An ashram can therefore be understood as a category of subtle consciousness. It is a field of awareness that transcends the mind, and is relatively formless. For most of us, a genuine intuition (rather than imaginative) is difficult to sense, and even more difficult to translate into accurate thought. It requires that we reach very deep within to truly (and accurately) receive an intuitive impression. Yet, to the enlightened masters, this level of consciousness requires no reach. It is the plane where they naturally function, and where their resting consciousness is found. Herein lies an important distinction between the consciousness of a master and that of a human being. Though humanity inwardly seeks intuitional insight, the masters are stabilized within it, and embody it as themselves.
When we consider the ashram, and our need to become sensitive to it, the role of meditation cannot be understated. Meditation is a time-honored method of accessing the intuitional realms. Thousands of years ago, the great sage of India, Patanjali, referred to the intuition as the “rain cloud of knowable things.” From it, the will of the ashram precipitates into those human minds able to receive its subtle message. This is how the spiritual kingdom guides humanity. Admittedly, it is rare that an intuitive message, transmitted by the Hierarchy, is accurately interpreted and rightly expressed. Because human beings are imperfect, their capacity to fully receive, interpret, and express divine wisdom will likewise be imperfect. Though diminished, the wisdom of the ashram does, at times, penetrate into the depths of human consciousness. This is recognized as a new and progressive idea pertaining to some department of human living. Thus does evolution proceed. These new ideas result in changes in outer behaviors of people and institutions. Their implementation, when done with loving skill, will be uplifting and supportive of humanity’s next evolutionary step. In short, humanity touches the consciousness of Hierarchy (via the intuition), then attempts to form thoughts around the intuitive insights received. These thoughts are stepped down approximations, but when implemented, still serve the larger good. Herein lies the deeper drama of human evolution over countless aeons.
In this discussion we have seen that the spiritual kingdom is a domain where life has perfected itself. Residing in this kingdom suggests that the soul has fully flowered, and individual karma is no longer present. In truth, it is a coming home of sorts. When this is achieved, the soul assimilates into an ashram in service to the Christ. Each of the seven ashrams within the spiritual kingdom has a divine role to play in assisting humanity in its continued development. The existence of this kingdom is the guarantee that all is moving forward according to divine plan. The seeming randomness of human life vanishes in the understanding that a larger and more elevated category of life is dedicated to humanity’s upliftment and protection. We are blessed in this assurance.
© 2002 William Meader
Biographical Information: William Meader is an author, teacher and counselor. Much of his work is focused on the subjects of Spiritual Creativity, the Evolution of Consciousness and the Art of Meditation. At present he is teaching in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He resides in Oregon, and can be contacted through his website at meader.org.