A couple of years ago I was sitting in a tube-train at Earls Court station in London. I was dozing, as I often do on trains, to be awoken abruptly by a loud announcement over the tannoy. The announcement was two simple words:
As I was waking up, suddenly I felt a strange feeling of awakening of a different kind. “Yes …” I thought, or rather felt, “ALL CHANGE – what a fantastic message!”
I glanced up, still half-asleep, my eyes skimming the faces around me, and up to the advertisements displayed above the seats; my ears half-hearing the chatter and mindless background noise in the carriage. There was a message in virtually everything I could see and hear, and even feel around me, and this message was the exact opposite of what I had heard over the tannoy. The message was:
“STAY THE SAME!”
After I had completely woken up and come to my senses, I changed trains, as I had been instructed to do by the faceless tannoy. But the memory of my strange semi-conscious quasi-illumination stayed with me.
“Yes … “I kept thinking to myself, “Yes … that’s what we need – we need to all change … yet what we are constantly being brainwashed into believing is that we should stay the same …”
Should I change my hair or my heart?
Advertising is a classic example – at least the vast majority of it. It may be encouraging a change in the vacuum cleaner we use, or a change in how shiny our hair is, and such like, but there is no message of real inner change. Change your hair – but no need to change your heart.
Little by little, mental and psychic conditioning on this level makes us believe that fulfillment lies in what is outside of us, not what is inside.
I don’t mean that there is anything wrong with good vacuum cleaners or nice hair; that is not the point! The point is that nothing brings true, lasting fulfillment except God – knowing God, loving God and serving God.
While nice vacuum cleaners and good hair may have their place in this world, it is the emphasis that is completely wrong on this plane of existence. Materialism, vanity and entertainment dominate the conditioning around us – not to mention fear-mongering by the media and politicians.
This serves to keep us down – to keep us looking down, not reaching upwards. Petty desires are manufactured in our minds by those seeking to profit from us; strange fears are twisted into our hearts by those seeking to control us. These desires and fears eclipse the light of spiritual aspiration – and we remain in the stagnant pool of ‘sameness’.
Think about television programmes for example, even relatively benign ones. How often are they reinforcing in our minds the wrong belief that beauty and wealth are two of the most important things in life? That it is impossible to be happy without a relationship, or without kids? That religion is for weirdos, and spirituality for kooks? We don’t even realize that it is happening to us. But it is – in all of us to some degree or another. Even those of us who know better, are still affected – we are still brought down; we are still being kept the same.
Even friends and family can do this to us – and no doubt we might do it to them too. Pressure, or even just encouragement, with regards to our careers, our relationships, our education, our appearance, our belief system and so on. Sometimes this may be done “with the best of intentions” – and sometimes it may even be helpful. But often it is not. Often it is just another voice in the wilderness of materialism brainwashing us not to change – brainwashing us to conform to a broken system – in fact, a system that has never even worked at all. A system that has been proven to have failed.
What is the proof of the failure of this system? The proof is all the multifarious suffering on Earth – from the beautiful millionaire movie star “who has it all” but is clinically depressed – to the fact that on Earth today there are people living in extreme luxury a stone’s throw from where children are dying of poverty. What more proof do we need that the message of ALL CHANGE is not just a nice idea – but a vital necessity?!
The same sameness that seems different
There’s a conversation in one of my favorite films in which the guy tells the girl she is different, as a way of explaining why he can’t pursue a relationship with her. This is how she responds:
- THE GIRL: I know I’m different, but from now on I’m going to try to be the same.
- THE GUY: The same as what?
- THE GIRL: The same as people who aren’t different.
I have noticed that very often people who are incredibly ordinary will go out of their way to try to be different, and people who are incredibly different go out of their way to try to be ordinary – or at least seem so. But, as a general rule, it’s all much of a muchness – the degrees of sameness and differentness are skin-deep.
At the end of the day, most of us, most of the time, in one way or another, are going with the general tide of conditioning on this plane. That conditioning may take the form of a straight-laced short back and sides – or a radical pink Mohawk; of ardent capitalism or fervent communism; of casual indifference as we sit hypnotized in front of the TV or radical fundamentalism in violent action. The surface differences are just that – on the surface. Deep down – we are trying to be the same. This is what we are told to be – and we are told that if we are, we will be loved – and therefore happy. The sameness comes in many different packages – some not too bad, some vile – but it’s still the same sameness that keeps the world in chains.
A different kind of difference
The message of “ALL CHANGE!”, in its deepest, most spiritual sense, has nothing to do with politics, hairstyle, TV, fundamentalism or anything else the world has to offer.
It’s about God.
It’s about turning inwards to the God Spark within each and every one of us. It’s about reaching upwards to higher mind, to spiritual truth, to our highest aspirations. And most importantly of all – it is about reaching outwards in selfless service to others.
We will still need material things – but they will not be projected as having any importance in themselves – they will only be important in so far as how they are used for God.
How to change
We can decide whether or not to go with the tide of conditioning, or whether to go against it. We can decide whether to serve God and advance – or fritter our energies away on materialistic dilly-dallying.
There are many ways to fight conditioning. One of the most important is awareness: we can try to be conscious of when we are being conditioned and how it is affecting us. Then we can fight it. When we see someone in a beautiful $5000 outfit in an advertisement – we can stop ourselves from letting ‘foolish desire’ get the better of us, and instead, see it for the pointless materialistic indulgence that it is.
Another way to fight conditioning is satsang. In brief this yoga term means: “being in the company of truth”. This can take many forms – typically it means being with spiritual people, but it can mean anything that brings us into contact with spiritual truth, such as: studying spiritual wisdom, doing spiritual practices, contemplating alone in a holy place, and so on.
In other words, we can fight negative conditioning by consciously choosing to condition ourselves in a positive way. We can do this in our own minds virtually all the time.
For a start, we would have a better life. We may have less money, a worse vacuum cleaner or, even, less shiny hair – but we will have something that no money, vacuum cleaner or hairstyle could give us: fulfillment.
We will still have ups and downs, successes and failures, moments of happiness and unhappiness, like everyone else – but we will have that one magical feeling of spiritual fulfillment that no one can really have unless they are truly devoted to God. Not to a fictitious or cruel idea of God – but devoted to the greatness of the allness of God – the Absolute.
On an even more important note, the Cosmic Masters have told us clearly that unless mankind changes, we will not be able to build the New Age upon Earth. But that the New Age must happen anyway, so if we don’t make ourselves ready for it, we will have to go to a more primitive planet, and virtually start again, so to speak.
Let us be mindful of these stirring, yet rather chilling, words of the Master Jesus in the Seventh Blessing, from The Twelve Blessings:
She has not, as yet, demanded that you change—or leave.
“She” refers to the Mother Earth – the great Goddess beneath our feet. She could wipe us off her back this very moment, but, through her great compassion, she chooses not to. However, there will come a time when, by karmic law, she will no longer be allowed to suffer for us. When this moment arrives, if we haven’t changed – then we will have to leave.
Never, in our whole history on this planet – has the message “ALL CHANGE!” been more important – or more urgent.
Let us resolve to rise upwards, fighting conditioning by sheer willpower in our own hearts and minds. And let us – ALL CHANGE …!
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About the author
Mark Bennett is the co-author of two books, both of which he wrote with international bestselling author Richard Lawrence, namely Prayer Energy and Gods, Guides and Guardian Angels, which was voted “best book on spirituality 2007” by readers of Kindred Spirit magazine. He is the youngest International Director of The Aetherius Society, whose teachings he chose as his spiritual path at an early age.
All the blogposts written for aetherius.org are written by experienced Aetherius Society personnel and approach themes relating to the teachings, practices and ideals of the Society. However, they also contain personal opinions, insights and interpretations that are not necessarily representative of the Society as a whole, or all of its Members as individuals.