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SPIRIT SELF AND EGO

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					                   SPIRIT, SELF AND EGO
                           PILGRIM SIMON




Published: 2011
Categorie(s): Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Mind & Body
Tag(s): Self Body Mind Spirit Spirituality Philosophy Psychology Reli-
gion Ego Mysticism "Human nature" God "Social science" Personality
Detachment Materialism Existence Identification Misidentification Ident


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                         SPIRIT, SELF AND EGO
                                    BY
                             PILGRIM SIMON



I   n various religious or spiritual traditions the person who is travelling
    on their spiritual journey is encouraged to deny themselves: ‘If any
man would follow me he must deny himself…’. This is often taken to
mean that a person should deny their self-interest and personal gain:
they should deny themselves personal pleasures and satisfactions, defer
or avoid rewards, praise, honour and reputation, perhaps even their own
needs and requirements, putting God first. But is this really what is
meant? What is said is that a man must deny his own self. This at first
may seem a contradictory thing to say. How can one deny oneself? How
can one deny who one is by nature? If one’s very self is being denied,
then who is doing the denying?


  THE ESSENTIAL SELF

   In this spiritual view it is declared that Self and Divine, Atman and
Brahman, are One. As Unmanifest, the Divine is Unspoken: the Potential
of all that is or may be. The Divine is beyond-being in that Being is dual-
istic: if there is being then there is non-being or nothingness, but the view
I am putting forward proposes that there is only the Divine Absolute as
No-thing. However, this Divine that is beyond being, manifests Itself as
Being and then simultaneously as Being and as all there is: as all exist-
ents. The Divine Word is Spoken and out of No-thing the plurality of
manifest existents comes into being as a delimited expression of the
Formless Divine. The Essence of all existents is the Divine, the Absolute,
which at the same time remains Transcendent of all, thus the Divine is
simultaneously Transcendent and Immanent, a position known as pan-
entheism. At the spiritual level there is no duality: all is One Unity: The
Divine but in expression, there is multiplicity of form. There is no cre-
ation as such, but rather, a contraction and delimitation of the Unmani-
fest One Formless Divine to a manifest plurality of forms. There is only
the Divine: the universe and any parallel universes are the delimited
Divine, One in Essence. In spirit then there is Unity, but in expression
there is separateness, division and multiplicity, though the Essence of
this multiplicity is One.



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  If the Essence of all that exists is the Divine Absolute, then it follows
that our True Essence or Nature is Divine also and that our expression in
time and space is the Absolute delimited into our particular form, to a
particular mode of existence, without fragmentation or dilution. Our Self
then, the Ground of our being is Divine: this is our Essence. There is
nothing deeper or higher than this, which is why I use capital letters in
writing it. Absolute or Divine and Self are One – the very same – the
Eternal Formless Emptiness in the Bliss of the Eternal Now.


  THE EXPRESSIVE SELF

   As a particular, individual expression of the Self, we have a particular
being and a particular location in time and space, such existence being
derived from the Divine, the Absolute. As a particular expression of
form manifest as a particular body/mind organism, we have no exist-
ence in and of ourselves: we do not have self-sufficient existence and
such existence as we do have as manifest form is temporal and transient.
As an individual existent derived from the Divine; as a material being
capable of thought and action, we have a sense of self, (with a small ‘s’),
a sense of individuality, a sense of location in time and space, a sense of
agency and identity. Within this subjective sense of individual selfhood
is our active locus or centre as an individual, separate, sentient, material
being.


  UNDERSTANDING HUMAN NATURE

  How then can we understand the individual human being? What are
the constituents of a human being? Well it would be very nice to be able
to create in diagrammatic form the components and dynamics of the hu-
man being, human nature and the human psyche, but the plain fact is
that we are far too complex for us to be able to do this adequately. There
are of course various religious and psychological models of the human
being and human nature, but they invariably present a partial picture.
Sometimes this is done deliberately: a model is created concerning say
the function of memory and as such, this model is not an attempt to de-
scribe human nature. But the wider the scope of the model, the more of a
problem such models become, because they tend to create a reductionist



                                                                          3
view of the human being….they fail to encapsulate all that is involved in
being human and end up declaring that a person is ‘nothing but…’
something or other. For example, behaviourism seems to declare that a
human being is nothing but a stimulus response mechanism, often ignor-
ing the workings of the mind. So though I would like to create such a
diagrammatic representation, I am not going to do so because it would
be too complex and still fail to cover every aspect of what it is to be
human.


 CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT, OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE
MODELS

   What I will say is that models of the human being tend to fall into two
types: the concrete empirical and the abstract conceptual. The concrete
empirical models are those descriptions of human beings that talk in
terms of brain, neurone firing, synapses, the nervous system, blood sug-
ars and so on. In other words, they are concerned with objective, measur-
able ‘facts’ (even though those facts may require subjective evaluation
and interpretation). This of course is the language of science. There is no
doubt that we are physical, or material beings and that such physical
qualities affect who we are and how we behave. Biological factors may
affect our introversion or extroversion for example; differences in blood
sugar levels may affect our behaviour and ‘rationality’; a head injury
may affect our memory or personality, as do degenerative conditions
such as dementia. Some people even note differences in personality and
interests following a transplant operation. Concrete empirical models
then are concerned with observable, measurable ‘facts’.

  The more abstract or conceptual models on the other hand talk in
terms of ‘mind’, ‘ego’, ‘will’ or ‘psychic structures’. The terms ‘psychic’
or ‘psyche’ are limited in meaning in this essay. ‘Psychic’ means of, relat-
ing to, affecting, or influenced by the human mind or psyche; mental:
mental as opposed to physical; [from Greek psukhikos of the soul or life].
‘Psyche’ means the mind functioning as the centre of thought, emotion,
and behaviour and consciously or unconsciously adjusting or mediating
the body's responses to the social and physical environment. I am not
making reference at all to the supernatural here, or to a psychic as a spirit
medium. We cannot surgically open up a person’s head to look at the
mind, the ego, the will or a psychic structure. They cannot be objectively



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observed or measured. These are conceptual abstractions describing the
internal and subjective part of our phenomenal experience as
individuals.

  It is also important to be careful when we mix these two types of de-
scription. One cannot be ‘mentally ill’ for example. ‘mental’ is an abstract
concept, whereas ‘illness’ is a concrete one; hence the title of Thomas
Szasz’s well known book ‘The myth of mental illness’. We can and
should however avail ourselves of both types of description: both are
valid in their own domain and both have their limitations. The empirical
model has enabled us to make great advances in knowledge enabling
surgical interventions, the creation of life saving drugs and so on, but
when taken alone it reduces all explanations to the measurable material
level. It has no room for Spirit or spirituality, which it tends to see as
primitive, or as regressive or as a baseless superstition. The abstract con-
ceptual model on the other hand has a wider scope providing richer ex-
planations and fuller meanings, but it cannot be verified by objective
measurement, nor does it tend to lead to the kind of advances that sci-
ence has developed.

   Spiritual and religious models tend to use the abstract conceptual
models of the person, because many spiritual traditions began before the
advent of a disciplined, rational, scientific inquiry and the use of empir-
ical medical models. Spiritual models tend to use terms like mind, heart,
soul, spirit and will.


  THE SUBJECTIVE SELF-SENSE

   Given that we are a physical existent: a body with a brain that can per-
ceive and feel and act – then this is the empirical aspect of us as a mani-
festation of the Divine in space and time. The subjective parallel of this:
the internal sense and perception of ourselves that arises from this biolo-
gical organism, is the subjective self which appears to act as conductor
and governor to some degree at least, of what we do, what we give atten-
tion to, what we say and think and so on. If externally or objectively, we
are a biological organism with a body, limbs, brain and sense organs
such as eyes and ears, then internally, or subjectively, the locus of sub-
jective separate identity and agency is the ‘self sense’ of ‘me’ as a separ-
ate entity in time and space. The ‘self’ is where our phenomenological



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experience is focussed or centred and which governs and processes sub-
jective experience as best as we can. It is also therefore the focal point of
action or agency. But because of the Ignorance that arises out of the con-
traction of the Formless Divine to form, we mistake our body and/or our
mind or this subjective self/agent as being the ground of our nature, but
this is a mistake.


  ALL QUADRANT, ALL LEVEL MODEL

   These two categories of empirical, objective, measurable objects or
qualities on the one hand and subjective, abstract ideas on the other hand
correspond to the integral all-quadrant, all-level model proposed by the-
orist Ken Wilber. In brief, he proposes a four-quadrant model with levels
or stages of development of increasing complexity and inclusiveness in
each quadrant. If you imagine a cross (+), the top two quadrants refer to
the individual while the lower two quadrants refer to the collective or
group such as a community or society. What is relevant to us in this
study is that the upper and lower left hand quadrants refer to the interior
or subjective aspects of existence and being: to interpretation, meaning,
value, truthfulness and so on. The upper and lower right hand quadrants
on the other hand refer to the exterior or objective aspects of existence.
Thus we find that our empirical, objective measurable, observable as-
pects and descriptions are in the right hand side of the model. With re-
gard to the individual, we look to the upper right hand quadrant to find
in effect, theories and approaches to do with brain, biology and beha-
viour. It is in this quadrant that we talk about frontal lobes, synapses and
neurones e.t.c.. If we look to the upper left hand quadrant however, we
find subjective phenomenological experience: value, meaning and truth-
fulness. Thus it is here that we find theories of interpretation and mean-
ing, Personal Construct Theory and the beliefs, conceptual frameworks,
values, web of meanings and so on, held by the individual. Moving up
and down the levels in this quadrant is the integrated active subjective
self-sense, the ‘I’, the bounded self-sense: the subjective sense of being an
individual ‘I’ located and acting in time and space.

   Wilber takes the same position that I have taken earlier, namely that
an individual cannot be reduced to any one, two or even three of these
quadrants, but rather, he advocates an all-quadrant approach to under-
standing who and what we are, using all levels of development. In this



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model then, there is a guide as to how to use the two categories of con-
crete and abstract descriptions of the individual. When dealing with ob-
jective facts, we use concrete terms. When dealing with subjective experi-
ence, we may use more abstract ideas and concepts. But we recognise
that both these are important and complimentary and that in addition,
the individual exists in a context of society and culture in time. A com-
parison of the work of ‘Hamlet’ will illustrate the point. In the upper
right hand quadrant, ‘Hamlet’ is made up of so many words, sentences
and paragraphs, printed on so many pages, is a certain type face and
size, on a certain kind of paper of a given thickness with a particular col-
our of ink. It is printed using a particular language and was originally
written at one particular time and is now printed in this book at a later
time. Is this the full meaning of ‘Hamlet’? Of course not. In the upper left
hand quadrant, we find the meaning of Hamlet: it’s poetry, lyricism, per-
sonal resonance, it’s value to the individual as a piece of classic literat-
ure, it’s beauty of thought and expression, it’s quality of phrase and lan-
guage and so on. Just as ‘Hamlet’ cannot be reduced to the upper right
hand quadrant, neither can a human being be reduced to brain, biology
and behaviour.


  THE EGO AND THE SELF DEFINED AND DISTINGUISHED


  A) EGO

   The word ‘ego’ is Latin for ‘I’. It refers to a cluster of processes in the
brain that are subjectively experienced as cognitive and perceptual pro-
cesses which appear to be at our core of subjective experience serving as
an executive in order to maintain psychological or mental balance. It is
sometimes referred to as the ‘self-as-object’, or ‘object-self’, but I disagree
with that view or at least qualify it. It is better to describe it as our sub-
jective sense of our expressive self-as-object. The ego is a subjective sense
of the bounded-self existent. The ego then is not an object but an emer-
gent, subjective sense emerging from biological activity in the brain and
body. The concept of ‘ego’ contains the important idea of a self that is
perceived as separate from or differentiated from others, or other selves.
‘Ego’ contains within its definition the idea of a boundary, of a bordered
‘I’. This differentiation begins to emerge and develop between the ages
of 18 months to 4 years old. Thus any developmental stages before this



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are pre-egocentric. It is only at this stage of initial differentiation, that the
child begins to be able to differentiate themselves from others. Thus, if
the child is shown a piece of paper with orange on one side and blue on
the other, clearly seeing both sides, when shown just the orange side
they will correctly answer that they see orange. When asked what colour
the person holding the paper sees, they will also say orange. They cannot
take the role of the other. It is only with the ability to initially differenti-
ate that the child begins to display the development of their own ego. While
there is no conscious awareness on the part of the child, they will clearly
display the classic signs of ego-building; there is a desire to please, to be
liked, to be accepted, and to be given attention, etc. This subjective emer-
gence of ‘ego’ is also evident from the fact that we have a ‘dream ego’ – a
subjective bounded sense of the self that we have during sleep but which
is not quite the same as that which we have when awake. For example,
when asleep, we might be able to fly or walk through walls. This dream
ego, like the contents of the dream itself, is a downgraded version of our
wakeful subjective experience. It is downgraded because when we are
asleep, some of our physiological activity, our brain activity and so on, is
minimised or reduced. This minimisation of certain biological functions
has the effect of downgrading our subjective experience. For example,
we may dream in colour, but it may be one dominant colour, say the in-
tense blue of the sky and sea, or the vivid green of a field of grass. In
deep sleep, our physiological or biological functions are reduced even
further, such that there is no emergent subjective sense of self: no ‘ego’,
no dream ego and no dream landscape. Yet we as Essence are still
present.

   It is with this ‘ego’ or sense of bordered, bounded ‘I’ that we tend to
identify. Identification is another cognitive emergent from biological
activity: sometimes it is a conscious process, sometimes not, whereby a
person labels, classifies and defines who and what they are. Thus ‘I am
a….[man, office clerk, weakling,…’. The fact that the ‘ego’, ‘self’ or ‘I’ is
an emergent quality or phenomenon is also indicated by the fact that the
‘ego’, ‘self’ or ‘I’ does not necessarily remain in the same place. Often,
ego is felt to be in the head, or sometimes in the heart or chest. But in
moments of severe stress, it may appear to move into the stomach or
even to a place outside of the body altogether such that one seems to
stand outside of one’s own body.




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  We commonly talk of some people having a ‘big ego’ by which we
usually mean that they have an over-inflated subjective sense of their
own self-importance or value in comparison to others. Thus such people
are usually loud, brash, opinionated, arrogant and so on.

   Despite this abstract quality, this bounded self-sense, this focal point
or locus of control and agency may feel threatened. Death threatens to
bring about its non-existence: death and the post death state is not a situ-
ation whereby disembodied egos continue to exist or where egos are re-
united with resurrection bodies continuing the existence of this core self.
Rather, at death the ego is lost, as a droplet of ocean spray is lost when
falls back again into the ocean and merges with it.

  As Pilgrim Simon was told:

   Death is not what you think! You are thinking that when someone dies, they
continue to exist in some spiritual form after death, caught up into some sort of
spiritual society, mingling with the spirits of other people that they met on
earth, as though this is some kind of extension of the material world. This is not
what death is like. In death all things are become new. You have heard it said
that in heaven there is no giving of people in marriage, and this is true. All these
earthly ways cease. Heaven is not a spiritual earth, with its law courts and
judgements and other institutions. It is not an extension of earth but a com-
pletely different realm. But it is true that the Spirit returns to God because the
Spirit is God. God is in us all and is Imperishable, Indestructible and cannot die.
Therefore, when a person dies, God returns to God. (Song of Simon 3 v 40-42.

  Similarly, severe stress may cause the emergence of ‘ego’ to break-
down or fragment as psychic structures are put under intolerable pres-
sure or internal conflict. The results of this may be depression, anger, ag-
gression, fear, defensiveness, transference, projection, madness, insanity,
suicide and so on. Loss of ‘ego’ is loss of coherence, loss of identity, loss
of self-governance and functioning and loss of touch with reality.


  B) SELF

   The word ‘self’ (with a small ’s’) is closely related to ‘ego’. If ‘ego’
refers to our subjective sense of our differentiation of us as individual ex-
istent, to the emergent mental structure that creates this sense, then ‘self’



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refers to the body/ego or body/mind if you like. If ‘ego’ is in the upper
left quadrant, and our empirical body is in the upper right quadrant,
then ‘self’ covers both upper quadrants. Thus it is slightly wider in
concept than ‘ego’, because whereas ‘ego’ refers to a cluster of subjective
cognitive and perceptual processes, ‘self’ includes the idea of our physic-
al body as well. So when we say that this is our self, we refer to our par-
ticular separate, individual existent as a body-mind organism, which
tends, correctly, to be perceived as finite, because one day, our body will
die and with it our cognitive processes and our ego. Once again, we have
the idea of boundary or border: if the ‘ego’ is a psychological border,
then with the ‘self’ the body also forms a boundary and border between
us as existent and other existents. In the same way as the ‘ego’ then, the
‘self’, that is, the body/mind organism, may constitute the separate self-
sense with which we tend to solely identify. We define, classify, label
and identify ourselves as this particular body/mind organism. The ‘self’
is perceived as a cluster of subjective cognitive and perceptual processes
including an ‘executive’ or ‘governor’ which serve to maintain psycholo-
gical balance and which arise from the brain which is located in and
bounded by a physical body which is itself located in time and space and
which possesses various attributes.

   The word ‘self’ then covers both our subjective sense of being a differ-
entiated existent and our objective, physical, bounded body with its pro-
cesses of brain and nervous system and so on. When we talk about the
‘self’ or ‘my self’, then we are talking about this subjective/objective ex-
istent. We cannot avoid mixing abstract and concrete terms altogether.
The ego is an abstract emergent phenomenon, a focussed sense of indi-
vidual selfhood derived and emerging from a subjective web of mean-
ing, coherence and subjective experience which themselves emerge from
objective biological processes. The ‘self’ covers both abstract and con-
crete elements of dimensions.


  THE SUBJECTIVE AND THE OBJECTIVE ASPECTS OF THE SELF

  It is reasonable for us to qualify the ‘self’ then by talking about the
‘subjective self’ and the ‘objective self’. The objective self refers to those
qualities of us as existent that can be objectively measured: our physical
body, our brain and its activity, our nervous system, our heart and vas-
cular system and so on. The subjective self refers to the emergent



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subjective, phenomenological sensations, experiences and faculties that
we have such as mind, thoughts, emotions, will, memory and ego. The
subjective self, the objective self and the Essential Self are more precise
terms for what is generally and loosely called mind, body and spirit.


  ASPECTS OF THE OBJECTIVE SELF

  The objective self is made up of various aspects and these include all
the obvious divisions and differentiations that we make about the hu-
man body, such as the various limbs like hands, fingers, toes, feet, head,
eyes, stomach, heart, brain, throat as well as the various biological sys-
tems and processes such as the cardio-vascular system, the nervous sys-
tem, digestive system and so on.


  ASPECTS OF THE SUBJECTIVE SELF

   I have spent a little time looking at the ‘ego’, the active subjective sense
of our expressive self-as-object. I have suggested that it forms the intern-
al focus, centre or locus, the subjective governor or administrator, but
governor and administrator of what? What is it that the ‘ego’ governs
and administrates? Well I have already spoken about the emergent sub-
jective, phenomenological sensations that we have, experiences and fac-
ulties such as mind, thoughts, emotions, will and memory. Together,
these make up the integrated subjective self-system or structure.

   More fully, the aspects of this self-system include our awareness, our
consciousness, unconsciousness, sub consciousness. We cannot focus on
everything at once so information is attenuated, narrowed by our atten-
tion to an amount that we can process and digest. There is our will: our
faculty of intention, choice, or agency; our volition. In addition there is
our sense of values, ethics, standards or personal morality. There are also
our emotions and feelings, our affections such as love, joy, hatred, anger,
e.t.c.. There is our sense of needs, preferences and desires; our likes and
dislikes, passions and dispositions for or against certain matters that a
person has. The mind is another general concept with an emphasis on
our cognition, our thoughts, ideas, concepts, imagination, intellect, reas-
oning, intelligence, knowledge, understanding and perception. Closely
related to this is our memory, our store of knowledge and experience,



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some of which we can recall. This is in turn is closely related to the
'conscience': a witness bearer that as it were stands alongside us in all
that we do, think and feel – sometimes accusing us and sometimes ex-
cusing us in the light of learned experience, memory and the context of
our culture. All this is governed by the active locus or focal point of our
‘ego’. All these work as a whole to create a conceptual framework, a per-
sonal construct of the world, and a web of meaning and value.

  This is a two way process: I choose to think or concentrate, to focus my
thoughts on a given subject for example, but also, thoughts arise invol-
untarily as distractions, daydreams, e.t.c. This is so for each of the above
dimensions, though some are less voluntary than others.

   There are other words that are sometimes used with regard to the sub-
jective self which I tend to use in a very qualified way. One of these is the
word ‘soul’. The essential meaning of the word 'soul' is: breath, espe-
cially, breath of life: the vital force that animates the body, showing itself
in breathing. In this sense, it is applied to animals, as well as humans.
Thus a dead soul, one that is soulless, is a dead, non-breathing or inan-
imate being. But the word 'soul' can be used in a secondary sense to de-
scribe the essential person, the personality, or Inward person, with their
reasoning, feelings, desires, affections and aversions. This use is syn-
onymous with what I have called the subjective self, or alternatively with
the ‘ego’, but not the Essential Self. In addition, we tend to think of a
‘soul’ as a disembodied spirit that makes up our Essential Self and I do
not include this kind of usage or concept at all. Therefore I tend not to
use the word ‘soul’, and prefer the more differentiated phrases of
‘subjective self’, ‘ego’ and ‘Essential Self’, which as we have seen, mean
different things.

   Another word we come across is the word ‘spirit’. Sometimes, the
word 'soul' is used interchangeably with 'spirit' and indeed the words
are very similar. The word 'spirit' means 'breath of air or wind or breath
of mouth.' Thus, as with soul, this word refers to the breath that gives life
to the body. The second sense in which 'spirit' is used is to describe any
inner disposition, purpose or attitude in general, covering both our
thinking and affections. Thus also we find a spirit of courage, of pride, of
jealousy, of determination, of fear, of error, of wisdom, of understanding.
One can be hasty in spirit, faithful in spirit, poor in spirit, perverse in
spirit. The spirit can be overwhelmed, broken, renewed, and revived.



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The word 'spirit' then, can have good or bad connotations and refers to
our disposition, leanings, inclinations and tendencies, embracing mind,
heart & will. This word can also be used in a third sense: that of an incor-
poreal being such as an angel, demon or disembodied person or soul.
Once again this gives us the same kinds of problems as the word ‘soul’. I
am only really happy here with second meaning: that of a transient of
brief disposition.

   The word ‘heart’ is sometimes used in a similar sense to ‘soul’ and
‘spirit’ in referring the very centre and inward part of the person, and
again I have the same problems with this usage as I do with the words
‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. Often however, its emphasis is on the affections, emo-
tions and desires. Obviously, the same word is used for the organ that
pumps blood around the body. I do not have too much problem with
these second two usages. If the ‘mind’ refers to cognitive processes and
faculties, then the ‘heart’ refers to core emotional processes and faculties.
Thus I may say ‘In my heart I feel very sad’, and mean that deep down,
near to the core of my expressive self, I feel sad.

  Another group of words, all related to the same root meaning, are
‘person’, ‘personality, and ‘persona’. These words all relate to a mask
that actors wore in ancient Greece, so they refer to the way in which we
present our selves to others – to our attitudes, disposition, character and
behaviour which are consistently presented to others over time. Whereas
‘spirit’ refers to a brief or transient display of attitude, personality refers
to such dispositions displayed over a long period of time. These words
refer then to the presentation of the self to others.


  THE INTEGRATED SUBJECTIVE SELF-SYSTEM

  Bringing all this together then, the subjective self-system is comprised
of about six or seven faculties or channels that interrelate in a complex
way with each other. The information that they provide is filtered and
narrowed through attention to a centre or active locus: an ‘ego’, that
seeks to govern the system to provide psychological balance and to de-
termine action. Some of this information impinges upon us without our
being aware or fully aware of it. All of this emerges from our objective,
biological self and its processes.




                                                                            13
  THE INTEGRATED SELF

  The integration of these various aspects of subjective experience is ex-
perienced as the ‘inner person’. Here is our inner voice, our inner ear,
our inner eye or mind’s eye and our inner desires and values. It is here,
in this integration of subjective experience, that we get the sense of an in-
ner person. But this does not go on endlessly: there is not an inner person
of the inner person. This sense of inner person arises from the integration
of our various subjective modes or channels or dimensions or aspects of
subjective experience. It is here that we challenge ourselves, reason with
ourselves, rebuke ourselves, punish ourselves, or reward ourselves and
so on.


 THE PRESENTATION OF THE SUBJECTIVE SELF BY THE
OBJECTIVE SELF

  It is in the objective presentation of the subjective self that we may be
in conflict with ourselves or be duplicitous: ‘Outside they are like sheep
but inwardly they are ravening wolves’. In other words there is often in-
congruence between the inward self or the integrated subjective self and
the presentation that we make of our objective self to others. Outwardly
we may present a generous character but inwardly, subjectively, our
motives may be those of pride or the desire for a good reputation. Out-
wardly we may present a morally noble character but inwardly we may
be prone to lust and sexual passion, tendencies, drives and needs which
may demand satisfaction say by secretly visiting a whorehouse out of
town and sing a false name in order to both satisfy the subjective desire
and maintain the outward appearance of morality which bolsters one’s
reputation in society.


  THE OBJECTIVE SELF AND SUBJECTIVE SELF IMAGE

  Of course, if such a person is discovered visiting the whorehouse, and
their name is printed in the newspapers and they are taken to court
where all the details come out, then this may affect the subjective self
and the image of itself that it has created, say by creating a sense of guilt
or shame or by falsely bolstering up the image by denial either to others



                                                                          14
and/or to one’s own subjective self. In other words, there is a two way
process at work.

  Well, I am now moving on to a rudimentary form of psychology and
that is not the aim of this essay. I am just concerned to show the nature,
dimensions and interconnections that make up the human being and to
more properly define the terms that I am using.

  IGNORANCE OF OUR TRUE SELF AND MISIDENTIFICATION

  When the Divine contracts or delimits to express or manifest as the
various forms of existents, in the process of contraction to expression as
gross, material form, the subtlety of Spirit is veiled and almost drowned
out. Ignorance arises. This occurs even in sentient beings and it affects
their perception of their True Nature. What happens as a result of this
Ignorance is that we usually identify with our self (small ‘s’) and regard
this as being our ‘True Nature’. Thus we mistakenly identify our ‘self’,
our bounded self-sense or body/mind organism as being our True Self.
But the fact is that though material existents are real and have substantial
but transient existence in time and space, such an existent is derived
from the Divine, its Essence and it is Essence alone that is Real and
Eternal and therefore our True Nature or Self.

   For these reasons then, neither the ‘ego’ or ‘I’ nor the ‘self’ is Real: they
are not the Self or our True Nature and Ground of being. The ‘ego’ or ‘I’
is the subjective focal point of the experience and agency of a living hu-
man being that is capable of differentiating from other existent human
beings, whilst the ‘self’ differentiates it’s own body/mind organism in
comparison to others. The ‘ego’ or ‘I’ is, for want of better terms, a psych-
ic structure that gives a subjective sense of individual selfhood and
centre making a coherent or semi coherent construct or sense of existence
and imbuing it with meaning, purpose and preferences. It is the subject-
ive sense and differentiation of us as existent. The ‘self’ is us as mind/
body organism. But ‘ego’, ‘I’ and ‘self’ are not our Self or True Nature.
The focal point, or locus of the subjective sense of me as sentient material
existent, seemingly capable of choice and action, of acting in and upon a
material world is subjective ‘I’ and ‘self is ‘me’ as thinking, physical form
and expression: as sentient existent , but not ‘I’ or ‘me’ as Essence. It is
the self-conscious awareness of my self as an expressed material existent.
But this is not Real and not the Self.



                                                                             15
  THE CONTINUUM OF EXISTENCE

  There is a continuum from the gross material realm of multiplicity,
plurality, separateness and division towards the spiritual mode or realm,
where we move to increasing Unity and to a lack of boundaries and
forms, for as we have seen, all that exists, essentially, is the One Divine
Formless Absolute. Therefore we start to enter a paradox: it is not I as an
individual who acts, but Essence, the Divine Absolute Self, through me
as expression. ‘It is not I who act but God through me…’ Not only this,
but the Divine Absolute acts in all other existents too, so that I act in
them and they in me for all that acts is the manifest Divine. In other
words, the contracted, delimited existent is actually an instrument or
channel of the Divine Absolute which is their Essence and alone exists.


  THE CO-EXISTENCE OF ESSENCE AND EXPRESSION

   Given these ideas, the Pilgrim is encouraged to emulate the Divine: to
‘act as if’ or better, to be what they already are in Essence – the Divine
Absolute. In other words, they are encouraged to detach from their false
identification with the self, with the sense of an individual ‘I’, and in-
stead to identify with the One Unity, the Transcendent Immanent Abso-
lute. They are encouraged to adopt the perspective of the Transcendent,
as far as they are able to as a delimited manifest existent expressed in
time and space. The self that is being denied then in the Pilgrim’s spiritu-
al journey is the self that is conceived of as a body/mind. The aspect of
us that does this denying is the Self, our Subtle True Essence, which is
Immanent in all that we are. This detachment from self does mean, as I
said at the outset of this essay, that we seek to stop doing things for self-
interest, personal gain or reward, because such reward is meaningless: it
is transient and real as opposed to being Eternal and Real. In addition,
performing actions for self-reward merely maintains and reinforces the
idea of separateness and division – of self and other – which is thinking
borne out of Ignorance and Illusion. It perpetuates our identification
with our self or our sense of self as body/mind instead of recognising
our True Nature as Divine. By seeking to be what we already are in
Essence, we are also given a moral direction: actions that lead to Unity as
opposed to actions which lead to separation and division.



                                                                          16
  Thus, in one encounter, Pilgrim Simon is told:

  intrinsic morality emulates the Absolute and the Absolute is Unity and
Bliss, Transcendent of all. It is sensitive to the Transcendent. It does not
seek division, but rather to transcend it. It recognises God in all things,
creating a respect for the material universe. It recognises the Ultimate
Unity of all things and the artificiality of separateness and division. It as-
pires to unite with God as Spirit and thus oneness with the Inner Self.
(Song of Simon 6 v 71)

   However, this is not a simple task because the Pilgrim is in a very real
sense in two worlds. Just as the Divine is simultaneously Transcendent
and Immanent, Expansive and Contracted, Unbounded and delimited to
bounded form, so the Pilgrim in Essence is the Eternal Formless Divine
Spirit, yet in expression is bounded material form in time and space. The
Pilgrim then lives in two worlds: the contracted material and the form-
less spiritual. The material existence is real: it has substance and duration
in time and space. It is bounded and made up of forms, creating multi-
plicity or plurality. But it is not Real: it is not Final Reality. It’s existence
is derived from the Absolute – it has no existence of it’s own. Ultimately
it is temporary and transient.


  LIVING IN TWO WORLDS OR REALMS

  How then is the Pilgrim to ‘be’ in the world? Again I refer to an en-
counter by Pilgrim Simon:

   ‘You are concerned about how to be in the material world. In being en-
lightened by this teaching you find yourself in two worlds. You have
seen and tasted that you are God. You have experienced the Immediacy
of God and your perspective and vision has been correspondingly
widened. You are drawn to God-As-Spirit and long to taste the Immedi-
ate Bliss again. But you are also in the material world, as contracted-God,
a world that is largely ignorant of the expansive view and which organ-
ises itself along materialistic lines. You are so surrounded by this that
you become embroiled in the perspective and values of the contracted
world. There are those who seek to come out of the world: they retreat to
monasteries and sanctuaries, to minimise these contracted ideas and



                                                                              17
values of the world and to fellowship with like-minded pilgrims. But
you are of the world, in that you are a physical, emotional, thinking be-
ing and you choose to remain in worldly society. It is quite legitimate to
be in the world, to work, play, marry e.t.c.. But on this path, the differ-
ences between the two paths are always more acute and immediate and
such a Pilgrim will always be drawn into contracted ways of being. They
walk in two worlds and have to balance an expansive and contracted
way of being. Thus, such Pilgrims may take time away from daily duties
to meditate or study. Sometimes, the calling of the expansive path may
hinder their worldly work. Sometimes the expansive path is frustrated
by the demands of the material world. The general principle is to follow
the Virtuous Way and to use societies laws against those who trespass its
codes. The Virtuous Way is the superior way, but those who do not fol-
low it are bound by the codes of society. It is quite proper therefore for a
Pilgrim to be involved in the legal profession, and to use the law as a
member of society, since this is an appropriate discipline at this level of
contraction. Dogs and sheep do not codify laws, but you are higher than
they are. The fact that you walk in two worlds means that you may avail
yourself of the approaches of both, for you have been enriched by the en-
lightenment gained. Those not so enriched may only use the more con-
tracted approach.’. (Song of Simon 9 v 20 – 32)

  The Pilgrim then is encouraged to live intrinsically, in effect follow the
Inner Light, to follow Inner Virtue in emulating the Divine rather than
being burdened by external impositions or strictures, or extrinsic codes
and commandments or religious institutions or ceremonies. The Source
of guidance and revelation is within the Pilgrim themselves.


  DETACHMENT

  On the spiritual quest then, an attitude of detachment to our subjective
separate bounded self-sense is encouraged together with an awareness
of our Self: our True Nature and Ground of Being as Divine Essence. Pil-
grim Simon is told:

  If we rest satisfied in our emotions or feelings, in our relationships, or in our
mind and intellect, then we are blind and cannot find God. (Song of Simon 5 v
41)




                                                                                18
   “The blind rest on material possessions and you often rest on your mind, in-
sight and intellect. This journey has to take you out of that mind-satisfaction,
because you can only see God by transcending the mind. This will be a hard
journey for you, for to see God you must let go of your mind.”. She laughed
again. “No, not in terms of becoming insane, rather, I mean surrender all that
logical thought and organised structure in your mind by which you understand
the world. It serves you well in orientating yourself and your behaviour, but
there has to be a point when you let go of it and surrender to the transcendence
of God. All your logic and ordering of concepts cannot encompass God’s Imme-
diacy.”. (Song of Simon 6 v 21 – 25)

  Your first lesson if you are to find the Immediacy of God is to stop
identifying with the material world, to stop considering yourself as your
material body. For you are God, and you must identify with God in all
things. You must begin to stand above your physical body, to detach
your identity from your physical body, because you are not your body,
you are not your mind, you are not your thoughts. You are God ex-
pressed and contracted into these things, therefore, to realise God, you
must expand beyond these limitations and identify with God-as-Spirit,
not with you-as-body. (Song of Simon 10 v 24 – 26)

  I knew that God was close, so very close, such that only a thin veil sep-
arated me from Immediacy. I knew also that I had to surrender my
bounded identity of self-sense, to let go in order to be swallowed up.
(Song of Simon 2 v 44, 45)

   From your bounded-self perspective, you see the cruelty, suffering
and pain of a fellow human being. The more you identify solely with this
bounded physical self, as though this is all a person is – a finite body-self
– (Song of Simon 9 v 11)

  The recognition that neither our subjective integrated self-system, nor
our objective empirical material self is our True Self is paramount. Even
both of these aspects of the self when taken together to make the ‘self’ do
not constitute our True Nature. They are to be seen as delimited, tempor-
ary and transient expressions of Essence, of the Absolute, which is our
True Self, Ground of Being and Nature. It is quite logical then that the
ego, the mind, the body and other aspects of this expression are down-
graded from the centre stage position that we tend to put them in our
Ignorance that results from the delimiting or contraction of the Formless



                                                                             19
Divine to expression as form. This then is the relationship between ego
and spirituality: the body has real substantial existence and the mind and
ego emerge and develop as subjective phenomena arising from the biolo-
gical processes that take place in the material body. There is then a con-
tinuum from material, through subjective psychic or mental ‘structures’
to the Absolute Spirit which is simultaneously Immanent and Tran-
scendent, Essence and expression.

   This means that complete Unity and Oneness with the Absolute is al-
ways present at the spiritual level. But while there is contracted or delim-
ited form and expression, such an existent expression is also simultan-
eously divided or bounded as a separate existent. Total Unity beyond be-
ing in the bliss of the Eternal Now is not returned to until all existents re-
turn and expand Boundless to Formless Spirit, as the drop of ocean spray
returns to the ocean.

   This of course has important considerations for the ideas of Self-realiz-
ation and the attainment of spiritual potential. For Meister Eckhart, such
experiences of Union with the Divine were of necessity only transient
and temporary for the existent organism could not survive it. Con-
versely, no matter how ecstatic, Transcendent and Unifying the experi-
ence, if a person is standing on a railway line during such an experience
and are then hit by a speeding train, they as existent will cease to exist –
they will not somehow transcend death – except as what they already
are by Nature – Formless, ego-less Essence. In other words, spiritual at-
tainment is limited as an existent, for our contraction to form will always
prevent the experience and ‘attainment’ of Formless-Spirit-Unity. This of
course is not to say that deep and transcendent insights and experiences
are not possible. One only has to look at the teachings of the great world
sages: Shankara, Ibn al-Arabi, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj, Sri Ramana Maharashi, Ramesh S Balsekar and others to see in-
sights from close ‘attainment’ to the Divine. We can see also that Divine
is very close to us: a veil of form, ignorance and illusion separates us
from perceiving what we already are by Nature – the Divine. The Source
of Wisdom lies in us, is our Very Essence. Yet it is also wherever we
look, for wherever we look, there God is in delimited form.

  This then seems to be the nature of human existence which we need to
understand correctly if we are to progress in our spiritual journey. It
poses questions for us as to how the Divine Essence communicates to us,



                                                                           20
manifests to us or reveals or unveils to us. Exactly what processes are in-
volved? This will be the subject of a further study.




                                                                        21
            From the same author on Feedbooks

THE RESURRECTION - A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE (2011)
The resurrection, the idea that sometime after death we are phys-
ically restored and made alive in order to stand before God and
the Final Judgment is a central idea in Christian theology and par-
ticularly the teaching of the Apostle Paul. Over the centuries,
many different interpretations have been placed on this event and
so this study seeks to return to what the Bible actually says about
the resurrection: what it is, what events lead up to it and what fol-
lows afterwards.

Basic Christian teaching for beginners (2011)
This book covers the elementary or basic teachings of Christianity
- the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, faith in
God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resur-
rection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6 v 1 – 3.
It is intended for those people who are beginning to make a com-
mitment to the Christian faith and describes an orthodox Biblical
perspective on the themes listed above. Following these articles,
there is an outline of the gospel itself, and this is covered at a
slightly more advanced level.

NON DUALISM KARMA, REINCARNATION AND PAST LIVES
(2011)
Some religions hold to the idea of Karma: the idea that a person al-
most endlessly recycles through death and reincarnation until at
last they achieve release. But I consider that at death the Essence
and Ground of our being, our True Self, returns to God as Expans-
ive Pure Spirit.
This short study explores this non-dualist position.

MODERN SPIRITUALITY (2011)
Pilgrim Simon considers over fifty questions related to the theme
of spirituality drawing from a number of respected spiritual
writers and mystics, different religious traditions and modern
Transpersonal Psychology as well as his own experiences in order
to create an introductory but comprehensive spiritual world-view
for the 21st century. Issues such as spiritual authority, the exist-
ence of God, the relationship of morality to spirituality, the nature



                                                                   22
of the spiritual path and the problems of evil and suffering are all
considered in this wide-ranging study.

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF A MANIC DEPRESSIVE (2011)
This is the spiritual biography of Pilgrim Simon with special con-
sideration and relation to his mystical experiences and bipolar
(manic-depressive)disorder. Pilgrim Simon presents his spiritual
life story as a sufferer from manic depression and as a person who
has had a number of mystical encounters with the Divine. This
story charts his entrance into and eventual leaving of Christian
Fundamentalism and his quest to find a deep-rooted, stable and
relevant spiritual orientation in the light of his mood changes. This
document covers a forty year period of Pilgrim Simon's spiritual
quest for the Divine.

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE AND THE PRINCIPLE OF HEADSHIP
AND SUBMISSION (2011)
An overview of the theology of Christian marriage, the biblical
principle of headship and submission and the roles of husbands
and wives.
In this study the author draws out Biblical principles surrounding
the relationships and roles of husbands and wives in Christian
marriage. The spiritual significance of marriage in its reflection of
the relationship of Jesus Christ to the body of believers that make
up the Church is explored, with attention given to the sometimes
thorny issue of the husband's headship and the submission of the
his wife.

GROUPS, CULTS, SECTS AND MIND CONTROL (2011)
A set of outline notes highlighting the techniques and processes
used in dysfunctional groups in order to dishonestly persuade
their members to adopt the group philosophy and remain as
members. Though the main references here are to religious
groups, these methods are also used by any dysfunctional group -
be it religious, political or whatever.
Using these notes, readers should be able to quickly detect the de-
gree of dysfunctionality in any group to which they belong.

The local church: Administration, government and practice (2011)




                                                                   23
How is a local church governed? Who makes the decisions - is it a
democratic organisation or is it directed by Elders? What is the
role of women in the church? How are Elders appointed and what
are their qualifications? How should the church deal with dis-
putes? What does church membership entail? What does a deacon
do? Should a local church have a constitution?
These and other important questions are addressed by drawing
out the examples, commands and principles contained in Scrip-
ture, and as such those forming a new local church should find
this study of practical help.

SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS (2011)
The author asks a series of a questions related to spirituality and
philosophy: Who am I?, How does morality relate to spirituality?,
If God exists then why is there suffering?, How do I equate my de-
sires and passions to the spiritual life?, What is Detachment?,
What role does surrender have in spirituality?, If God is in control,
do I determine my own actions?, What is the point of doing any-
thing? Why bother?
This study takes a non-dualist position in addressing these issues.
Answers are also drawn from the personal spiritual journal of the
author, 'The Song of Simon', which is a record of his own mystical
encounters.

CHRISTIANS SEEKING GUIDANCE FROM GOD (2011)
Even for Bible-believing Christians, seeking God's guidance in
every day circumstances can sometimes seem to be a difficult task.
On some issues, the Bible is plain but in other areas, Christians
seem to be on less certain ground and may resort to methods and
approaches that lead them into error and difficulty, or they may
sub-consciously interpret their own desires and preferences as
God's will for them with equally disastrous results. Sometimes,
these mistakes can cost the believer emotionally, financially and in
terms of personal relationships and faith cause many difficulties.
This study seeks to cut through some of the potential pitfalls to of-
fer a more considered Biblical view of seeking God's guidance and
will for the Christian.

MYSTICISM, MADNESS AND MANIA (2011)




                                                                  24
Drawing from his own personal experience as a sufferer from bi-
polar mood disorder and as a person who has had a number of
mystical, spiritual experiences, Pilgrim Simon explores the themes
of religious mania, so-called 'mental illness' amd immediate or
mystical experiences of the Divine. In so doing he seeks to draw
out distinguishing features that differentiate mystical experience
from manic mood phases and from schizophrenic displays of reli-
gious delusion. He draws from the Transpersonal model of Ken
Wilber and also from the approach of Personal Constuct theory
and the research of Julian Jaynes on the Bicameral mind. This
study leads to questions about the very foundations of psychology
and psychiatry and the forms of analysis and diagnosis that they
may make concerning mystical or transcendent spiritual
experience.
Pilgrim Simon has studied spirituality and religion for over forty
years. He has an Honours degree majoring in Psychology and Post
graduate qualifications in counselling.

CHRISTIAN REVELATION (2011)
This study is concerned with that area of Christianity known as
'spiritual gifts', or 'charismata' and particularly the gifts of revela-
tion and inspiration - and God's guidance.
Initially, these gifts are explored and defined in Biblical terms with
a Calvinist interpretation, but as the study progresses it becomes
more and more evident that tests are needed to be applied witrh
regard to claims of experiences of spiritual gifts in order to pre-
vent the Christian believer from being decieved, mistaken or de-
luded by false gifts and influences.
Where better to look then than to THE outstanding example of
Christian God-inspired revelation - the Bible itself. In taking this
course we are led to a critical exploration of the very foundations
not only of Christian Fundamentalism and the Bible, but to the
foundations of Christianity itself.

EVANGELISM: AN ALTERNATIVE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
(2011)
Evangelism - spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ - can be big
business, with large crusades and campaigns - or it may be a local
church initiative to attract new vistors. But what does the Bible say
about evangelism and outreach? Is it every believer's duty to



                                                                     25
evangelise? Should the church be seeking to spread the gospel to
everyone in their neighbourhood? Should a believer feel guilty if
they do not get involved? What methods of approach should be
used? What is the message that should be conveyed?
Pilgrim Simon explores the approach of the Apostles and com-
pares them to modern approaches and attitudes and finds some
interesting lessons to learn.

THE CHARACTER AND NAMES OF GOD (2011)
What is God like? What sort of characteristics, qualities or attrib-
utes does the Divine have? Many spiritually-minded people pic-
ture God using the Names ascribed to the Divine: God is Love,
Mercy, Father, Judge and so on. Some tend to think of God as 'Big-
Person-in-the-sky' looking down on us, ordering events around us
and keeping a record of all that we do and say ready for us to give
an account of our lives.
In this study, Pilgrim Simon gets beneath these ideas to find
something far more transcendent and intimate, resulting in a view
of God that challenges many religious and orthodox ideas about
what God is like, and suggests a way through religious division,
conflict and dogma.

THE SONG OF SIMON - A SPIRITUAL JOURNAL (2011)
The 'Song of Simon' is a spiritual journal that faithfully records the
content of a series of mystical encounters experienced by Pilgrim
Simon over the course of a few months at the turn of the millenni-
um. Though allegorical and mythical in its symbolism, the philo-
sophical and theological content is at times quite profound. In
general, it resonates with the approach of non-dualists and core
views of spiritual thinkers such as Ibn al-Arabi, Shankara and
Meister Eckhart - though at the time of writing this journal, these
authors were unknown to Pilgrim Simon.
The text provides a rich reservoir of spiritual philosophy and
provides the springboard for the spiritual studies written by Pil-
grim Simon over the last decade.

FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY (2011)
Older, traditional religious ideas are being questioned and chal-
lenged, but this does not mean that we have to reject the very no-
tion of God or the Divine, or throw out all religion as useless. But



                                                                   26
it does mean hard and searching questions into the foundation of
spirituality and religion, and particularly orthodox religion and
spirituality which declare themselves as the one true path to the
Divine. A contemporary approach is needed which can accom-
modate our modern world and its discoveries. Paradoxically, such
an approach reaches back to some very old ideas indeed.
What is set out in this study is a set of articles dealing with the
foundations, the ground, the base, of spirituality, stripping away
inadequate ideas and theologies that are no longer tenable in an
attempt to get to a more sure foundation for contemporary
spirituality.

LEAVING CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM - THE BIBLE AND
AUTHORITY (2011)
The rallying call of the Protestant Reformers was 'sola sciptura' -
Scripture alone. For modern Christian Fundamentalists, The Bible
forms THE tangible spiritual authority as God's inerrant Word
and therefore it forms the ONLY rule of faith and conduct. All be-
liefs and conduct are brought under its searching light.
But is Christian Fundamentalism correct in taking this position? In
this study, ex Christian Fundamentalist and Calvinist Pilgrim Si-
mon considers over sixty questions concerning the foundation and
ground of authority for the Christian's faith and conduct and in
doing so lays the axe to the root of Fundamentalism and begins to
question the very basis of orthodox Christianity itself.

THE END OF THE WORLD - A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE (2011)
What does the Bible have to say about the last days before the re-
turn of Jesus Christ? There have always been some rather wild,
alarmist and fanciful interpretations of what these last days are
supposed to be like and when this period begins. At the same
time, the events of Biblical prophecy are often notoriously difficult
to anticipate and interpret before the events themselves occur.
Even so, Pilgrim Simon seeks to cut through these extremes and
problems in order to give a balanced overview of just what the
Scriptures say about these last days, the man of sin, the period of
persecution of Christians and the return of Jesus Christ.

THE WORLD: AN ILLUSION OR REALITY? (2011)




                                                                  27
Some spiritual traditions argue that the world, indeed, the entire
universe is just an illusion. Is this correct or does the world and
the universe have real substance? What do we mean by the term
'real'? Taking a non-dualist position, Pilgrim Simon explores the
concept of the universe as a manifestation of the Divine. In so do-
ing, the nature of illusions and reality, substance and reality, free
will and predestination and the nature of the self are all explored
in the light of a panentheistic perspective where the Divine is sim-
ultaneously Transcendent of and Immanent in all that exists.

LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (2011)
What does it mean to live the Christian life? A lot of emphasis
today is put on what Christians believe and on defending those
beliefs against opposing views. There is also a great deal of em-
phasis of worship - on music, gospel groups and choirs, singing
praises and enjoying a sense of fellowship and community with
like-minded believers every Sunday at church. There may also be
an emphasis on reaching out to unbelievers - on evangelism and
spreading the gospel. There may be an emphasis on healing cam-
paigns and rallies. Sometimes there is an emphasis on teaching -
on theological debate in Bible study groups. Or there may be an
emphasis on young people and on youth groups within the
church. Is this what the Christian life is all about? Or does the
Bible give us another emphasis? In this study, Pilgrim Simon ex-
plores Biblical aspects of Christian living.

THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY (2011)
We often turn to the Bible as our authority and foundation for the
Christian faith. Christian Fundamentalists go as far as to say that
the Bible is God's Word and therefore without substantial error of
any kind.
But are we correct in this reliance upon Scripture? What did the
believers in the early Christian church rely on before the writings
of the Bible were collected and agreed on as being suitable for a
rule of faith? In any case, what qualifications did a piece of writing
have to exhibit before it was included in the Bible?
In this study, Pilgrim Simon gets back to the basics of Christianity
to try and establish a broad outline of the foundation of Christian
faith and practice.




                                                                   28
Essays on spirituality - Volume 1 (2011)
'Essays on spirituality' consists of over a dozen short and medium
length articles on spiritual themes. They were written as the au-
thor was coming to an understanding of his own mystical experi-
ences and the theological and philosophical content that they dis-
played. References are made to the Journal of these experiences -
'The Song of Simon' - also available on Feedbooks.
The themes covered in this volume include:
ABANDONING MATERIALISM
CHARACTERISTICS OF MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
CHRISTIANITY AND MODERN SPIRITUALITY
DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE
DEGREES OF IGNORANCE
EVIL – ITS ORIGIN AND PERSISTENCE
THE EXPERIENCE MEETING
THE SPIRITUAL WISDOM OF THE CHILD?
GOD, TRUTH AND PERPETUAL TRANSFORMATION
GOD’S WILL AND PLEASURE…IN THE BEGINNING
HARMONISING RELIGIONS
THE HEART
THE INTRINSIC PATH
KNOWING ME, KNOWING GOD – AHA!

THE SOUL - A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE (2011)
The orthodox Christian view of the soul and spirit is to regard
them as very similar if not the same. They are words used to de-
scribe what is seen as an eternal spiritual entity that together with
the body makes up the nature of a human being. After death, it is
largely considered that the soul/spirit continues to exist as a ra-
tional, thinking, desiring, purposeful entity - the essential person-
ality, brought to stand before God.
In this study, Pilgrim Simon examines how well this view stands
up in the light of Biblical texts, and argues that the grounds of this
view are weak, if not unsupportable.

SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP (2011)
Should spiritually minded people gather together for devotion,
worship and praise of God? Should they gather together for teach-
ing? Who is it exactly who teaches? What do they teach? What is it
exactly that they worship? What happens when individual



                                                                    29
understandings of what God is like different from or even contra-
dict the views of other spiritual travellers? How should any such
meeting be structured and organised? Given that there are differ-
ent levels of transcendence in spirituality, which is the most ap-
propriate spiritual path to follow?
In this study, Pilgrim Simon addresses these issues of practical
spirituality.

THE MEANING OF PERSONAL REVELATION (2011)
In the course of engaging in spiritual exercises such as contempla-
tion, prayer, mindfulness and meditation some people may exper-
ience an immediate encounter with the Divine - a mystical experi-
ence in which they may receive teaching and guidance in spiritual
matters.For some in Christianity, the whole Bible is declared to be
inspired revelation.
What principles shouls we use in seeking to understand the mean-
ing of such literature and experiences? What is the meaning of a
spiritual dream? If the Absolute makes a representation to us in
metaphor, allegory or symbol, how then do we understand this
content? What is the sense or significance of mystical literature?
What is the purpose underlying or intended by such accounts?
What is the true interpretation, value, or message that such and
experience and literature seeks to convey?
In this study, Pilgrim Simon seeks to address such questions.

SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS VOLUME 2 (2011)
In this second volume of spiritual questions, Pilgrim Simon asks:
What is the nature of the universe? What do we mean by manifest-
ation, illusion and ignorance? Is reality Ultimately Two or One -
duality or non-duality? What happens after death? What is the
mind? What role, if any, does sex and sexuality have in spiritual-
ity? What do we mean when we talk about material and spirit?

Spiritual Questions Vol. 3 (2011)
In this third volume of 'Spiritual Questions', Pilgrim Simon contin-
ues to seek answers to various common questions on the theme of
spirituality. The questions covered in this volume include:
What are Angels or Spiritual guides?
How important is it to belong to a Community or Fellowship?
Is Worship, Praise and adoration of God necessary?



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Where do Rules, Laws, Commandments and Moral Codes fit in to
spirituality?
What about Personal Revelations of God?
How important is Ritual and Ceremony in spirituality?
What is Scripture and sacred writing?
How important are Teachers, Leaders, Founders of movements,
Gurus e.t.c.?
What role does Tradition play in spirituality?
How important is Ideology, Theology, Philosophy and Rationality
in the spiritual life?
Why does God allow suffering, pain and evil?
If there is One God, why are there so many different and contra-
dictory religions?

THE STING OF DEATH (2011)
What happens with regard to the lack of moral balance when we
die? Does guilt just evaporate and perish with the death of the
person? Does death mean that we escape the penalty that our mor-
al transgressions should incur? Some religions promote reincarna-
tion - a near endless cylcle of birth and rebirth until such guilt is
purified and purged away. But what of the Christian position?
The sting of death is sin - but what does this mean? How is the
guilt and debt of moral transgression worked out in Christianity?
Pilgrim Simon looks at these issues from a Christian and Covenant
perspective.

COVENANT HISTORY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT (2011)
This study began with the question: 'Did the Holy Spirit indwell
believers in Old Testament times?' Many modern Christians place
an emphasis on the regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit
as an essential part of salvation. If this is the case, in what sense
was the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost? In seeking to answer these
kinds of questions, the author, Pilgrim Simon, found himself ex-
ploring the history of just how God dealt with his people via a
series of 'covenants' or relationships leading up to the New
Covenant in Christ. The progression through these covenants re-
veals changes in relationships with and discoveries about the Div-
ine as the plan of redemption is unfolded. It also questions some
of the assumptions made by some Christians today.




                                                                  31
WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM? (2011)
Who is Jesus? The answer may seem obvious to those in the west
brought up in Sunday Schools and thus reasonably familiar with
the Bible tales of Jesus. But in fact, things are more complex than
that because the Bible documents are not quite what they appear
to be at first sight or face value. Yet we have little knowledge of Je-
sus outside of these Biblical texts. To make things worse, we have
centuries of church tradition which in some cases masks and hides
a more accurate picture of what Jesus was like.
In this study, Pilgrim Simon, an ex Christian Fundamentalist, ex-
plores the very foundation of Christianity itself in seeking to get to
the roots of just who Jesus was.

WHERE IS JESUS NOW? (2011)
Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus, his crucifixion, re-
surrection and ascension. Ask many Christians today where Jesus
is and they will reply that he is seated at the right hand of God the
Father. But where is that exactly? If the resurrection of Jesus was a
physical one - or at least had physical characteristics - then where
exactly is Jesus now, following his ascension up to the clouds?
In this short study, Pilgrim Simon ponders this theme within an
orthodox Christian viewpoint together with some of the practical
implications involved.

THEY NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL (2011)
The Bible and many modern Christians place a great emphasis on
the gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ and the grace procured
by his life, death and resurrection for those who believe. The im-
portance of this message motivated many attempts at missionary
and evangelistic work, in order that hearers may have the oppor-
tunity to believe and be saved.
But what of those people who have never had the opportunity to
hear the gospel? Are they doomed to a lost eternity? Are they con-
demned because of their situation to eternal condemnation?
In this short study, Pilgrim Simon explores this subject and its im-
plications from a Biblical point of view.

A CRITIQUE OF CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM (2011)
Many of us are familiar with the term 'Christian fundamentalism'.
It is a term that that through constant use in the media often



                                                                    32
creates in our minds a stereotypical image of a naive literalistic
faith coupled with a somewhat dogmatic and intolerant attitude -
especially with regard to modern science.
In this short study, ex Christian fundamentalist Pilgrim Simon
gives an outline critique of the Christian fundamentalist system
and believer.

Detachment and the spiritual life (2011)
The idea of detachment, of withdrawing from the world and soci-
ety, of abstaining from worldly interests and pleasures, even
denying the self, has a long tradition in spirituality and is ex-
pressed in many religious systems. From simply abstaining from
certain behaviours to living the life of an Ascetic - detachment is
present in spirituality in a wide degree of intensity and scope.
In this study, Pilgrim Simon takes a look at detachment and the
ideas that underpin it from a non-dualist stance. He asks if detach-
ment is necessary to walking the spiritual path. If it is, what are to
detach from? And to what degree? He draws on the thoughts of
Shankara and Meister Eckhart and outlines the theology of the
spiritual path.

LAYNTON LAINTON FAMILY HISTORY (2011)
An outline one-name study and history of the Laynton/Lainton
family originally from the Staffordshire/Shropshire borders in
England.
The history of the family is traced back to the 1500's and reveals a
typical working class story from the beginning of the reign of El-
izabeth the first, through the English Civil Wars, the industrial re-
volution and two world wars, with family members spreading all
over the world. This study would be of interest to anyone with the
Laynton/Lainton name as their own name or in their familiy his-
tory and also to students of social history, since a great percentage
of the Laynton/Lainton's in the world are included in this one
name study.
The appendix contains wills and census records, apprenticeship
records and a full chronological index of births, marriages and
deaths from the 1500's up to 1995.
You should note that some parts of he appendix are intended for
computer display and may not be spaced correctly on mobile
devices.



                                                                   33
MORALITY, NON-DUALISM AND THE SPIRITUAL ASCENT
(2011)
Non dualism, typified by Advaita, is often criticised for failing to
address morality and failing to direct spiritual pilgrims in terms of
how to act in the world. It is even accused of detaching spirituality
from morality altogether. This study looks at the whole issue of
morality with regard to non-dualistic spirituality and argues, as
do the non-dualist traditions themselves, that morality is an essen-
tial foundation for the spiritual life. This study traces seven broad
stages of spiritual development – the spiritual ascent – and shows
how morality is integral to each stage. In so doing, the study also
suggests an outline spiritual path for the spiritual traveller – re-
gardless of the particular religious system that may be embraced.

TOWARDS A 21ST CENTURY CHRISTIANITY (2011)
In the light of textual, historical and scientific criticism and
resulting re-evaluation of the Bible, can we actually begin to form
any sort of view about what Christianity is and who Jesus was? Is
there anything left after these radical deconstructions?
Ex Christian fundamentalist Pilgrim Simon makes a personal eval-
uation of Christianity today, cutting through fundamentalist
thought and years of orthodox theology and practice to try and ar-
rive at what the essence of Christianity really was and is and what
theology it would embrace in the light of these modern criticisms.




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