"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey."

For most of us who believe we are on a spiritual journey this old phrase adds a different dimension to life. Often, however, even when we encounter such a fundamental truth, we don't have time to pursue it. There is a fleeting contact, we recognise it, and then carry on with our mundane pre-occupations. This article explores what that journey means, when a spiritual being incarnates in human form.

The first beings on Earth were not physical

In the beginning there was nothing but the essence of God, in a state of non-being. With the Big Bang of science God moved into a state of being, manifesting as the expanding universe. As the universe began to take on a physical aspect the pure spirit of God became diluted and constrained as it entered the world of Matter. This is where the journey of the Pilgrim-Soul begins.

The first beings on Earth were not physical. The first three Ages of Man saw the gradual separation of the Spirit of God moving down through the layers of Matter, whilst in the physical world Earth was solidifying and primitive life was emerging. This was the Golden Age of popular myth, the Age of Lemuria, when Man was in harmony with Spirit and with all beings. Nature continued to evolve, as explained by Darwin, assisted by creative Spirit looking for physical incarnation. Gradually Lemuria gave way to the Fourth Age, when this process was complete. Now Spirit had to fragment into tiny sparks, forming human souls, separated from the Divine Source and from each other by dense bodies of flesh and bone. This is the Age we remember as Atlantis.

The survivors of Atlantis

Atlantean Man was well-versed in the sciences and built a sophisticated and complex civilisation, but his physical body dominated his soul and he lost sight of God. Ignorant of the universal law of harmony and karma he tried to explain pain and disaster by blaming an external power of evil. This power of evil manifested in his enemies, providing justification for war. The Pilgrim-Soul was all but engulfed by the powerful human ego of the newly developed individual. A dominant sense of self-righteousness allowed Mankind to engage in conflict with Nature, and man to fight man. The mighty civilisation came to a violent end in the flood that is remembered in all our cultures.

The survivors of Atlantis were the fore-runners of our present Fifth Age. They brought with them accounts of the past to be handed down through the generations, becoming garbled and distorted, providing the basic stories that were incorporated into our own belief systems. It is no coincidence that creation myths on all our continents have so many similarities.

The spiritual awakening is already beginning

We have followed in the footsteps of the Atlanteans, building our civilisation on an understanding of the sciences. And because we are at the stage of the evolutionary cycle where we have begun to move back towards Spirit it is our task, our destiny, to add a spiritual aspect to scientific achievements. Opening up to the Pilgrim-Soul within, it is time to re-examine those ethical and moral values handed down from materialistic Atlantis. If God is omnipotent and omnipresent there can be no external power of evil. The conflict is not between good and evil, it is between Spirit and Matter. We are responsible for our own actions when material greed endangers spiritual well-being.

This spiritual awakening is already beginning. Whilst the world's media concentrates on man's inhumanity to man there are ever-increasing numbers of individuals and groups who are looking beyond the traditional goals of power, possessions and profit. Humankind is starting to recognise and value the interdependency of all life-forms on Earth. We cannot extract timber from the rain forests without damaging our ecology. We cannot stand by and witness genocide without diminishing ourselves. We are all Pilgrim-Souls on the same journey, part of the same whole, part of God.

We are here to experience life in a physical world. We have lived our incarnations in other bodies, in this Age and the previous Ages, and though we have few memories of those earlier lives with each incarnation we develop greater understanding, wisdom and compassion. It is time to go beyond the Atlanteans and make these wider connections, to see how personal spiritual development contributes to a general movement in the spiritual development of Mankind. Our long sequences of incarnations are patterns within the greater pattern of the evolving Cosmos. Living in the moment, we need to be aware that in the moment is the essence of the moment to come. Then when the moment to come arrives, it will be imbued with our understanding, wisdom and compassion, and the world will move towards the harmony that is our ultimate destiny.