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Exploration into God
Sir George Trevelyan

First published in 1991 by Gateway Books, Bath
This book is out-of-print, now available only on this website
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Part Two

Something of Autobiography
Prototypes of Holistic Achievement
A Further Step in the Exploration
Communication with Higher Intelligences
Exploring into God in Nature

Something of an Autobiography

Through Agnosticism into Holistic Vision

THE WHOLENESS VISION in our time does challenge us to cross the threshold of consciousness and explore into higher knowledge – into God. We are all called on to attempt this in our own way and all can start now from where we are.

Perhaps it would be helpful if I gave a brief autobiography, to show how this exploration developed in my own case. My family was agnostic, my father an avowed atheist. None of us six children was baptized and we rarely saw the inside of a church – except for my younger sister Katharine, who knew God from childhood. My parents were in that cultural stream devoted to the service of mankind but without religious belief or any expectation of survival after death. My family tradition was one of liberal and radical politics. My uncle was the great historian, G.M. Trevelyan, my grandfather Sir George Otto Trevelyan was one of Gladstone’s cabinet and author of a fine history of the American Revolution, my father, a Liberal M.P., who during the first World War came over to Labour and was Minister of Education under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1928 in the first Labour governments. They were great orators.

As a young man at Cambridge I thought that I too wanted to go in for politics, but my path was to be very different.

Up to the age of thirty-six, I had no concern with the Spirit and no religious belief. Then came the turning point, in 1942. Let me briefly lead up to that event. I was born in Westminster on 5th November 1906 at 9.25 p.m. Those concerned with astrology will know what it means to have Scorpio as Sun sign with Leo rising. The time puts Leo exactly on the cusp of the 12th House. Thus my life shows these qualities fairly clearly – the reserve and secretiveness of Scorpio and the outgoing and sunny front of Leo, the actor and public speaker.

My life has been marked by a series of enthusiasms which overlaid the darker scorpionic propensities. The first of these was for caves! We were sent during the first war to Sidcot, the Quaker co-education school in the Mendip Hills of Somerset. Here, as an older boy, I found a passion for cave-exploring. A small group of us were given permission to explore on free days in the caverns of Mendip. I lived and dreamed caves and doubtless this great sport, with its adventuring into the mysteries and wonders of the darkness underground, had deep psychological significance! Certainly it was a thrill!

I recall a Christmas gathering with all the family and cousins, in which our Grandmother wrote a little verse about each one of us young people. Mine ran:

There was a young person called George
Whom all of his family adorge,
And he loves them too
But between me and you
Not so much as a cave or a gorge

This summed me up completely!

In 1925 I went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, to which all my family had been. I, rather inevitably, fell into reading history as the family subject. Here my scorpionic reserve caused me trouble. I was, strangely, never able to discuss my future or my career with anyone. I was innerly somewhat adrift, but threw myself into Cambridge life with enthusiasm. This involved debating, fencing, dancing with the Cambridge Morris Men under Rolf Gardiner, illicit roof climbing with friends from the Cambridge Mountaineering Club. Mountains and climbing came to mean a great deal to me.

One unusual activity should be mentioned. This was the Man Hunt in the great hills of the Lake District, invented by my uncle, G. M. Trevelyan, and the mountaineer Geoffrey Winthrop Young when they were at Trinity in 1898 and running still, always Mastered by one of my family. Some twenty or thirty men gather for the three days of Whitsun at Seatoller in Borrowdale. Three hares are sent out at dawn with red scarves round their shoulders, to be hunted till dusk. It is an absolutely epic sport. I revived it after the war in 1948 and ran it as Master till 1967 when my younger brother Geoffrey took over. The Hunt is well set for its centenary in 1998 with my nephew Robin Dower as Master.

After Cambridge, undecided on a career, I went to Germany for six months in 1928, at the time when Hitler’s Brown Shirts were emerging as a force. There I made some contact with the Freischaar, that liberal aspect of the German Youth Movement which could have swung Germany in a very different direction. I had developed a real interest in architecture, discovered the Bauhaus at Dessau, and made a personal link with Gropius and Moholy Nagy, and even, quixotically, signed on to train in the office of a modern architect, Breuhaus.

But this was not to be. Coming back to England to sort things out, a friend, with perception, simply said "What about Crafts?" In a flash I knew that this was what I must do. I had studied the medieval crafts guilds, but as an intellectual it had never occurred to me that one could actually make things oneself. A passionate longing filled me. I soon realised that woodwork and furniture was my line and after a little enquiry found that the fountain head was the workshop of Peter Waals at Chalford in Gloucestershire. The Cotswold furniture tradition was inaugurated by Ernest Gimson and his friends Sidney and Ernest Barnsley, architects personally inspired by William Morris. Peter Waals had been foreman to Gimson and took over the workshops after his death.

It was a wonderful experience for a young man to come into that workshop. My bench in the old mill room was next to that of Ernest Smith, the foreman, who had been with Gimson as an apprentice. There were twelve men working, all trained in this superlative tradition of fine construction, mostly in solid woods. I could watch the making of a cabinet here, a bureau there, a dozen chairs at the next bench, a dining table or a wardrobe. I myself made the chamfered bed which I still sleep in, a tall fall-front bureau at which I now write, my armchair and other pieces. For nearly two years I lived in the bliss of creative activity. It was a great privilege and experience to work as student-apprentice in a large craft workshop and I learned the significance of surrendering oneself totally to the discipline of a great tradition before attempting to design oneself.

The Cotswolds have for me a magic through this experience. The Chalford workshops closed down in 1937 shortly after Waals’ death, but I kept Ernest Smith going with designs of my own for the next ten years.

I see the crafts as integrally part of the holistic vision and the alternative life-style that grows out of it. Naturally a craftsman has no need to be concerned with the spiritual world-view. But once we have seen that the Earth is an integral living being, that the forms and materials of Nature are the expression of living divine ideas, and that man is integrally part of the wondrous whole, then a new and deeper significance is given to every craft.

But making furniture was not to be my work. On that same weekend, when I knew with certainty that I must become a craftsman, I also took a great decision which hit me with complete clarity. I would master the teaching of the Alexander Technique and this would be my life’s work. Since I give a later chapter to this, I shall not go into it further now. Suffice to say that while at Cambridge I had gone for lessons to F. M. Alexander and knew with full conviction that he had made a discovery of paramount importance for a new humanity. Here was something to which I could give total devotion. The opportunity now presented itself through his deciding to launch the first training course for teachers in 1931. It was typical of my temperament that I should give up everything to this work. None of my family or friends had the least clue what it was about!

For me, the significance lay in the vision of wholeness. The word holistic had not then come into general use. I had not yet achieved any vision of the spiritual nature of man and the universe. But now, looking back, I can see how this step in my life was an essential preparation for what was to follow. I have no doubt that Alexander’s technique and teaching about conscious, constructive direction of the use of the self will take its place as a fundamental feature in the emergence of a new life-style and a new humanity.

A group of eight of us went through the three years training course with Alexander. Then, after teaching it for a while, I had to face the fact that I was getting to a point of social isolation that was for me psychologically untenable. I had put everything into it and now had to admit I could not carry it through. Therefore I was left without a career or qualification in 1936, at the age of thirty.

At this point Kurt Hahn, the great headmaster and founder of Gordonstoun School, came into my life. It was clear that I now had to enter a wider field of human contact, and teaching was the obvious line. So I went to Gordonstoun, teaching history, literature, woodwork and outdoor pursuits. This made a fine and full life.

In 1936 I was fired with a new vision – that of using our great country houses as cultural centres for everyone. At Hahn’s suggestion I went out to Denmark and Sweden to make contact with the Folk Highschools. This movement had been launched in the 1840’s by Bishop Grundvig, to lift the young Danes out of the slough of despond, after a period of depression following the Napoleonic wars. His plan was to run five-month residential courses for young farmers, not to teach them better farming, but to make them better Danes, so that they went back to their farms inspired, through learning about Danish history and literature and Scandinavian mythology and folklore. He felt that "enlivenment" was as important as "enlightenment". Therefore he decreed the Doctrine of the Living word. His teachers were to speak from the heart direct to the hearts of their pupils, without using set notes. They were free to shape their own curriculum on themes they themselves found inspiring. The plan worked, and it did much for modern Denmark. I was clear that the Folk Highschool idea could not be applied directly in Britain, but aspects of Grundvig’s teaching were of vital significance.

I saw that for England the ideal tool for a new consciousness would be the short residential course in a country house, to break through into wider interests. I am rather proud to have been thinking along these lines in the 1930’s, well before the movement for the Short Term residential colleges came to birth. This followed the war years. Sir Richard Livingstone, Oxford Professor of Education, wrote books such as "Education in a World Adrift", in which he urged the need for a new kind of people’s college, a cultural centre for all, and what better venue than country houses, many of which had fallen on difficult days. Somewhat quixotically I had the hope that I might in due time use Wallington, our family home in Northumberland, for such a purpose. But this was not to be.

In 1942, when I was 36, occurred the event which changed the course of my life. I had become interested in compost and organic husbandry and sought out the leading adviser, Derryk Duffy, in Heathcote House, near Aberdeen. I found him busy with a conference of twenty leading members of the Anthroposophical movement, studying Rudolf Steiner’s agriculture course. Derryk was a bit bored at having to give time to a visitor, but showed me the garden and the compost heaps. Then, since I had turned up, they suggested that in the evening they should break into the general programme and invite Dr Walter Johannes Stein to give a general lecture entitled "What did Dr Steiner mean by Anthroposophy?"

That hour was a revelation. Stein was an advanced clairvoyant and initiate. I am certain that he knew precisely what he was doing. The lecture was given directly to me, though he never looked at me. All the great concepts of Spiritual Science came up one after the other and my whole soul innerly shouted affirmation to him. "Pre-existence – yes, yes, obviously; Earth as training ground for souls – yes, indeed!; therefore Reincarnation through many lives – obviously yes; Universe as Mind and living thought – Earth as a living creature – yes, yes!" For that whole hour no negative response rose in me. The agnosticism of thirty-six years faded like morning mist. The spiritual world-view was clear to me in its glory and wonder.

I have no doubt that this event in my life was planned and staged by higher destiny and that the timing was ripe for a leap in consciousness. I owe Walter Stein the profoundest debt of gratitude for what he did that night. Thereafter Dr Ernst Lehrs took me over as his pupil, led me into Goethe’s thinking about plant metamorphosis and opened the doorway to the understanding of spiritual science. I joined the Anthroposophical Society and read Steiner avidly for the next years. Had I been a bachelor it is likely I would have plunged into Steiner teaching with the same drive as I had entered the field of the Alexander work. But for family reasons it seemed more appropriate to return to Gordonstoun.

My war experience was also in the teaching field. I was commissioned as Captain in the Rifle Brigade, but was posted to the so-called "GHQ Travelling Wings" for training of Home Guard in warfare. Our field was northern Scotland, and I was then appointed as adjutant to the Highland Home-Guard Division based on Inverness.

At the end of the war I went down with jaundice and spent six weeks in an army hospital on a diet of boiled white fish. I came out looking yellow and shrivelled, as if I had been in Belsen. When I recovered and reverted to normal diet, I remember visiting one of the biodynamic gardeners near Nairn and being allowed to sit under a tunnel of green raspberry bushes and pick these delectable fruits and eat them direct and sun-warmed. It was a taste of heaven.

Illnesses often mark karmic turning points in a life. Certainly this seems to with mine. Gordonstoun had kept open my place and I recall walking the six miles from Elgin to take up schoolmastering again. Halfway I found myself going slower and slower, as if some invisible elastic rope was holding me back, or as if some angel barred the way. I can still picture the sandy road with a leaning scots pine. I came to a standstill. There was no conscious reasoning. I just stood and then quietly turned around and walked back to Elgin. I knew that if I once entered Gordonstoun my post-war career would be that of schoolmaster. Now I turned and walked into adult education and an unknown future.

The decision taken, all the enthusiasm for the concept of the cultural centre in the country house came flooding back. I would get into the new movement for the short-term residential colleges. To gain experience I decided to sign on for two years more in the army and take a post of instructor in the No 1 Army College at Dalkeith, which was running two-week courses on every conceivable subject to help men and women from the services to get back into civilian life and qualification. I took a post in the arts department, teaching history and literature, with the hope that in due course I might become a tutor in one of the new colleges now coming to birth.

The dream of using the family home at Wallington proved quite impossible. It would not have been a suitable house, even if I had inherited it as my own. But my father, Sir Charles Trevelyan, decided that after his day Wallington should pass out of private ownership. The estate was not entailed, so he had no obligation to leave it to me as his eldest son. In 1941 he bequeathed the house and the large agricultural estate to the National Trust, the mansion to be maintained from the rent roll of the estate. This set an important precedent for the Trust. By accepting the bequest, they took on the task of becoming landlord and agent to big estates and the lead given at Wallington has been followed in many parts of the country. After my father’s death in 1958, the Trust took over and have made Wallington into one of the finest show houses in the North.

For me the door closed on Wallington, but opened on a country house far more suitable for a cultural centre. In 1947 the Shropshire Education Committee advertised for a principal for Attingham Park, the Shropshire Adult College. I applied and against a very strong field was, to my astonishment, appointed. Here was a dream coming true.

Attingham, a noble Georgian mansion built in 1785, was the perfect setting for an adult college. It was the finest of all the group of some twenty-five colleges founded in these years and it was the fourth to come to birth. Lord Berwick, following the lead from Wallington, had bequeathed it to the National Trust. He died just before the opening of the College. Lady Berwick, a gracious presence, lived on in her own apartments. My governing body, tenants of the National Trust, represented many Shropshire interests. Sir Offlay Wakeman, Chairman of the County Council was Chairman of Governors. Birmingham University Department of Extra Mural Studies contributed the salary of a tutor and were closely linked. The instigator of the whole plan, Martin Wilson, the Secretary for Education, was Clerk to the Governors.

This, however, was a quite new venture. No one had experience of a short-term adult college. So, very wisely, they decided that the actual programme planning and direction must be left entirely to the Principal. Attingham was to become a hub of adult educational activity for the county and region. I was given complete freedom in creating the activities, though it was all closely watched. Martin Wilson made some excellent appointments of adult tutors for the county, so with the tutors from the Extra-Mural Department we made a fine team.

Attingham grew into a focal centre for a great number of stimulating activities. I was to be there for twenty-four years till my retirement in 1971. In that period I calculate that we laid on 1,033 open courses on an infinite variety of subjects. Often two courses were run at a weekend with closed conferences midweek.

I made a point of joining in and actually running one of the courses every weekend. This was important. I knew, quite simply, that I could enthuse people on any subject I wanted to know about. Thus in those post-war years we broke into theme after theme and subject after subject and I made it the rule that I always gave at least one lecture, even if it was a subject new to me. This, I think, encouraged people to explore new fields. I saw that it was a question of finding what I then called the "integrating ideas" which would relate the subject to a wider context. That would give encouragement to exploration and then the visiting professor or expert could take us to a deeper understanding. I can see that this was in line with holistic thinking, though we had not yet heard the word.

So our programmes touched literature, history, architecture, archaeology, music (both creative and listening), drama, all the crafts, painting, birdsong, butterflies, geology, heraldry and much more – any subject which could arouse enthusiasm and widen vision. Then we arranged concerts with the famous quartets, special lectures and amateur drama. Through the inspired direction of Eric Salmon, the drama adviser, we offered Twelfth Night, The Winters Tale, School for Scandal and other great plays as arena productions in our music room.

The midweek periods were mostly filled with closed conferences and there were summer schools for a week or ten days. At Attingham I also established a ten-day summer school called Creative Leisure, in which students could explore a number of crafts and get creative experience. Bill Campbell and Jeff Lowe directed this dynamic project for twenty years. Among the activities we developed a school of mosaic and the triumph was a zodiac of twelve panels five and a half feet tall to decorate a circular room in the house. These are still displayed in the Library at Wellington, Shropshire.

I also taught the colourful art of heraldry by getting students to paint shields. By so doing, they mastered the picturesque language of ‘blazon’ and we decorated our refectory with over one hundred shields.

In 1942 I had married Helen Lindsay-Smith. Now at Attingham, on one of my art courses, she discovered a latent talent for painting, which released a creative drive continuing to this day. She filled our house and the College Dining Room with colourful pictures of flowers and plant forms.

We must recognize that the weekend house-party in country houses has been a major factor in English social history, but of course it was confined to the rich upper classes. Now we were experiencing the metamorphosis of the country house-party for everyone from all walks of life. The groups were welded together by a common enthusiasm to explore some cultural subject, theme or activity. Some three thousand people stayed at Attingham each year and an equal number came to concerts and single events. And we must recall the annual course in musical analysis of a major work, conducted by Mary Firth. The success of Attingham owes much to Mrs Orgill, for ten years domestic bursar, and affectionately known as ‘Mrs O’.

It was a full and exciting life. My governors had arranged with the National Trust that the college should use the great dining room with its lovely plaster ceiling as lecture and music room. We also had use of the library. Thus the students had a real experience of living in a country house set in its park land with a nearby river.

In 1952, through the initiative of my art-historian friend, Helen Lowenthal, we founded the Attingham Summer School on the Historic Houses of Britain, for American art and architectural historians, museum experts and preservationists. This offered a week of lectures and tours at Attingham, followed by a two-week tour to different regions. It runs to this day and has forged a remarkable link between our two countries on the basis of enjoyment of visiting country houses and studying their architecture and collections.

I have so deep a debt of gratitude to all who worked at Attingham as colleagues, tutors and visiting lecturers, but space does not allow me to mention all by name. It was a great group enterprise and it released creative energy into adult education. Many people were enriched with an enhanced sense of the deeper meaning of life and the potential of the human being.

After twenty-four years the time for retirement approached, for in 1971 I should be sixty-five. To mark the retirement a farewell celebration was held at the end of August 1971, with some five hundred guests and speeches in a great marquee. There was a great flow of warmth and affection on this occasion. As a diversion after tea, I arranged for a balloon to fly from the lawn. The concept of the Warden of Attingham disappearing into the clouds in a hot air balloon was irresistible!

The previous year I was struck by rheumatoid polio-arthritis. This could have been totally crippling. By the time of my retirement I was wearing calipers on my legs and was in a sorry state, but the arthritis was in no way to be allowed to interfere with the holistic enterprise. Illnesses, as I have said, may well mark turning points in our lives, and the arthritis made retirement from Attingham essential, since I was not prepared to let the college run at anything less than its traditional pace and pressure. However, I would not consent to hand myself over to medical treatment with drugs and cortizone and gold injections.

Then I found my way to Dr Gordon Latto, one of the leading figures in natural therapy in the country. The secret of nature cure is to stop putting into the blood what causes imbalance, and so allow nature to restore us to health. With raw, live food, herbal remedies, hydrotherapy and other nature cure treatments, we restored the blood to complete normality on every count and the arthritis steadily receded. Some damage to joints was irreversible, but in four or five years I was free from pain, mobile and full of energy and could walk the hills again. One of my proudest moments was in a great Wrekin Trust conference on Holistic Healing, during a session of questions to the lecturing panel. I was sitting between Gordon Latto and his surgeon brother Conrad. The question came up, "Would the Lattos tell us about the holistic treatment of arthritis". Both brothers turned to me and said, "George, you answer that question." I can categorically declare that rheumatoid arthritis can be overcome by nature-cure methods. In my case the Alexander teaching was also an essential asset.

Adult Education for Spiritual Knowledge

At Attingham I was free to experiment with any themes for courses that would arouse enthusiasm and vision and sense of meaning to life. I remembered a statement by Whitehead which could well have come from Plato: Moral Education is impossible without habitual Vision of Greatness. In an age when so many values were slithering, we needed to do all we could to restore sense of meaning. This seemed to me the real task of adult education. We were not so much concerned with current affairs, sociology and economics. These had been the major themes in the great days of the Workers Educational Association. I recall an occasion when our group of newly appointed wardens or principals to the short-term adult colleges, met to hear a lecture by one of the great figures of the W.E.A. He spoke of the Law of Diminishing Enthusiasm, and we looked at each other, knowing that we in the new movement were working with the Law of Mounting Enthusiasm!

Now our form of the new adult education was open to all classes and was clearly concerned to tap interests which added significance to our lives and gave the lead for development of the self through cultivating new skills and wider capacities. For me personally the spiritual world-view gave sense of meaning to life. Therefore from the first I began to experiment. In the very first programme I included a weekend called "What can be believe?" in which we touched on spiritual knowledge. I also invited my heroes from the Anthroposophical Movement to come and lecture. Dr Lehrs, Dr Stein and Dr Karl König all came to Attingham, but it became clear that the idiom of anthroposophical lectures was not right for this setting. Warnings came to me that I must not risk criticism from rate-payers about what was happening at Attingham. Obviously I had to find ways of presenting these new ideas in a generally acceptable English idiom. I learned to be very diplomatic and play down these courses. The Extra-Mural Department expressed grave doubts as to whether they were valid for adult education!

Yet the governors had given me full freedom, so I continued my experiments in the fifties. At this time we knew little about a ‘New Age Movement’. Yet by the early sixties I found that if I laid on a course on "Frontiers of Reality" or "The Quest for the Grail in our Time" or "Spiritual Awakening", the house was packed. Clearly there was a profound need in the field of adult education for teaching about the deeper meaning of life. The news was getting around that here was a country house running spiritual courses, and people flooded in from all over the country. On one occasion the seventy beds were filled by return of post when our programme was sent out. Though my governors were doubtful about these courses, they at least brought in the funds! And to their credit, they never interfered or came to see what happened. And wonderful things did happen, but I learned to play my cards carefully.

In the sixties I ran each year about six weekend courses and one summer school on the spiritual themes. Let me tell one strange story. It was on a weekend course on "Light and Love". I gave the final talk on the Sunday afternoon and in closing put on a recording of Beethoven’s Hymn of Joy. Then, with an audience of one hundred and fifty, we went into meditation. I had noticed that the cows in the park had all gathered along the sunken fence below the lawn. During the silence they all began to moo and the sheep to bleat and the rooks to caw. There was a tremendous racket and as we went down to tea everyone was saying "Did you hear those cows?" On such an occasion there are bound to be a few real sensitives with ‘sight’. They declared that for them the beautiful plasterwork ceiling had melted and disappeared and they saw through into heights of celestial light. In baroque architecture such scenes are painted on the ceilings. Here at Attingham they had the baroque experience in direct vision. They declared that our souls were being drawn or sucked heavenwards through this funnel of Light and that the nature kingdoms were saying "Take us with you, take us with you". Such things may be and our minds must be open to their strangeness!

In these "significant courses" as we called them, many people who are now leading figures in the New Age Movement met each other. We began to know who was in the field. We were beginning to develop an adult education for spiritual know ledge. It was clear that many important movements were already presenting their particular approach to higher know ledge. I now saw the need for a form of adult education which offered the spiritual world-view without commitment to any particular approach.

In 1964 we mounted a conference on "Death and Becoming". This was, as far as I know, the first time death had been dealt with in open adult education. I am proud to realize that at Attingham we held a number of ‘first occasions’. There was the very first conference on Teilhard de Chardin to be held in England. I went out to Vezelay to meet René-Mary Parry at the Teilhard conference and invited her to bring her team of lecturers. We packed the house and on the Sunday evening the Teilhard de Chardin Association of Great Britain was founded in my study. We also held the first Psychosynthesis Conference. It was a great moment to be able to introduce the subject to a full house, saying that none of us yet knew what it was, but we were drawn together by the concept of synthesis, which was then in the air.

At this time the holistic world-view was emerging. We now recognize that this world-view involves comprehending that the Earth is a living, sentient being and that humanity is integrally part of nature. Thus conservation is essentially part of the alternative life style, which grows directly out of the spiritual and holistic vision. At Attingham we held a series of ten annual conferences with the Soil Association and the convention was established that I should give a closing fifteen minutes commentary from the spiritual viewpoint. Sometimes this nearly split the Association!

I first visited Findhorn, the community in the north of Scotland, in 1968. I suspected that Peter Caddy’s garden of magnificent flowers and glorious vegetables grown on arid sand dunes was the result of co-operation with the nature spirits. For the first time he confessed that this was the truth, so I wrote a memorandum to Lady Eve Balfour which brought up the Soil Association experts to see for themselves. I was never a member of the community, but for ten years was a trustee and felt closely linked. I gave opening lectures at most of their annual conferences which they have published in a little book called Summons to a High Crusade.

After ten years at Attingham occurred an event which, being deeply traumatic, served to transform my consciousness. Our lives run with a continuous parallel between outer events and inner development. I have described how the single lecture by Dr Walter Johannes Stein in 1942 lifted me clear of agnosticism and released the spiritual vision. But still it was largely theoretical. By 1958, after ten years at Attingham, I had given many lectures touching on spiritual themes and was learning how to weave this holistic vision into a setting of open adult education. But then in 1958 came an event which was the absolute inner turning point. This was the sudden death in America of my great friend and colleague. Till now my lectures had been based on theoretical understanding, an endeavour to present Steiner’s teaching in simple words to the general public, and naturally our attitude to the after-life came in. We were understanding the truth of pre-existence and the implication of Earth as training school for immortal souls in their long education. Now I had been hit by the event which lifted the whole outlook from theory into direct experience. I now knew without any shadow of doubt that the spark of divinity in us cannot possibly die. Therefore the whole quality of my thinking and lecturing was enhanced and lifted. I laughed to think of Samuel Butler’s delightful misquotation: "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all."

The great truth is that death in all its forms is the great educator, to teach us that the divine droplet in us always was and always will be. It cannot die and be extinguished. It needs a traumatic experience of loss to make such a breakthrough. Those who have experienced it are the privileged ones. It shows the possibility of establishing a direct contact between the planes of being. This can be the equivalent of the peak experience, bringing about an absolute certainty and subjective proof of the eternal spirit in each of us.

I began a precious little note-book in which to write the names of all our friends who pass over, and whom I know to be in close touch with us, who are working still on this plane for the birth of the New Age. I call it "The Company". The list begins with the name of my friend on 3rd May 1958. This event was a major turning point in my life.

To return to 1971. I now entered a new phase, with burgeoning possibilities! ‘Retirement’ meant (as so many have found) a release into a new field of activity. We now had 1,500 names on the mailing list for the spiritual conferences. I could not let them down. So with advice from Major Bruce MacManaway, Ian Gordon Brown and Air Marshall Sir Victor Goddard, we conceived the idea of an "Educational Trust concerned with the spiritual nature of man and the universe", to mount conferences all over the country. What was it to be called? I looked out of the window at Attingham and saw our local mountain, the Wrekin and thought: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." I will call it the Wrekin Trust after this central hill in England. And then I remembered the lines from that fragment of an epic by Lord Macaulay, who was my great-great-uncle. He is describing the signal fires leaping from hill to hill to give warning of the approach of the Armada:

Till the proud Peak the flag unfurled over Darwin’s rocky dales,
Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales,
Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze from Malvern’s lonely height,
Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin’s crest of light,
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt’s embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw woke the Burghers of Carlisle.

It seemed we were called on to the adventure of lighting spiritual bonfires on the holy hills of Britain. Here was to be the next phase of work and activity. We wasted no time. In early November we held the first Wrekin Trust conference at the Hayes Centre in Swanwick, on the theme "Death the Great Adventure". It was a tremendous course with a full house of three hundred. This was to be followed by a New Year gathering at Stoke-on-Trent University. At one moment in November my heart sank. Compare the corpse-coloured brick university with our dear Attingham and the great Epiphany festivals we had celebrated there! No one would come. It would be a dismal contrast. But when the time came the place was thronged and it was an inspired course at which J. G. Bennett was chief speaker. At the end we felt those dull brick walls were vibrating with spiritual light!

Ruth Bell, my last secretary at Attingham, agreed to come with me into Wrekin Trust and we established our office in a house in the village of Bomere Heath in Shropshire, near the cottage into which my wife and I had retired.

We now, of course, had no conference house, so we sought out centres in different parts of the country where we could hold our weekend courses. There was now no need for me to be diplomatic and play down my real interest, so I came out in my true colours and proclaimed the spiritual awakening in our time.

Wrekin Trust and Beyond

Throughout my career in adult education I have tried to put into practice Grundvig’s Doctrine of the Living Word. To me that implied never using notes. I argued that if one needs to look at a bit of paper to find out what one thinks, then the thoughts are not of burning significance. Of course with certain scholarly and more technical or scientific subjects it is necessary to read papers, but this involves the ability to put the subject over as an actor. Churchill was the great example of one who could write out his entire speech and then put it over as if it were spontaneous. For many of us, what is written cold in the study lacks the necessary fire to get over from the platform. The challenge is to speak the living word in a manner that starts a flow of inspiration and is audible to everyone in the room. Thus my lectures at times lost in precision but always came over ‘alive’. Having brooded on the subject, I then found that the act of putting it over to the audience started a spontaneous flow of thought. Sometimes it goes off in unexpected directions and has to be brought back into control!

I can see the goal towards which this type of lecturing is leading. It confirms the conviction that there is indeed an ocean of living thought to which our minds are attuned. The brain, we realise, is not so much an organ for secreting thoughts as for reflecting ideas. The Ideas in a true sense, are alive. They are beings, strands of -the energy of God. Thus the lecture is not merely a one-man performance. It is a united group endeavour, almost a ritual, in which one is the catalyst through whom living ideas can pour. Thinking is a kind of electrical power, flashing through the group mind of the audience. Thus each lecture can be an adventure, an invocation of the Divine World to speak through human thinking. Grasp that these ideas are living beings, to be seen as energies of God-thought. They long to enter and blend with the layer of human thinking. Once thought on our plane, the ideas are widely available to others.

To Grundvig’s "Doctrine of the Living word", I should like to add the Doctrine of the Living Idea. Our goal must be to make ourselves worthy instruments for channelling these living ideas. Then a bridge can be made with higher worlds. Here is indeed a clue for exploration into God.

Poetry began to play an ever greater part in my lectures. The poem, after all, is a creation of the right hemisphere of the brain, that gateway to Oneness Vision. Here was a real example of the use of the Living Word. The secret is to teach oneself really to speak living thoughts and not recite dead words. Poetry can be used in active cultivation of Imagination. It was really as if the poets themselves came to contribute to the lectures! So many people asked for copies of poems used that I put them together with a holistic commentary in a little book called: Magic Casements: the Use of Poetry for the Expanding of Consciousness.

I had been fortunate at Attingham that much of the administrative load had been lifted from me by the Education Department of the County Council, so that I could be continuously engaged in planning and running courses and events. With Wrekin Trust! had the essential need of a colleague who could take over management and financial control. Without such, our position was somewhat precarious. In 1974, three years after launching the Trust, destiny brought that colleague into my life. In midsummer at a conference in London I became aware of a figure I had not seen before, in jeans, bearded, and with an aureole of brown hair. I sought him out in the tea break and he tells me my opening greeting was "It’s nice when we meet". I asked him what he was doing tomorrow and he replied "Coming to see you". I am certain that there was here a deep karmic connection and that we had been together in earlier incarnations. I saw in Malcolm Lazarus a wonderful potential and he saw in Wrekin a field of work which could fulfil his capacity. He brought the organizing and management ability and financial experience I sorely needed.

Gradually, in the next years, he learned the arts of planning and running courses and soon became Co-Director of the Trust. Together we mounted and ran some forty residential weekend courses each year and this full flood went on till 1982. Thus Wrekin, in ten great years, had mounted nearly five hundred courses in different parts of Britain and had taken its place as adult education for spiritual knowledge. I owe Malcolm a lasting debt of gratitude and was happy to release full power and control to him as Director.

It was important that we had no label or commitment to any single movement or school of thought. Our task was to present the spiritual world-view in general terms, so that people could awaken to the holistic vision and then find their way to the particular path that suited them best. Thus in the whole wide movement of spiritual awakening and New Age thinking, Wrekin had a special place. We were in touch with all these groups and many of their lecturers spoke from our platforms, but we were not affiliated to any of them. Thus students did not feel that a particular doctrine was being imposed on them, and were free to find their own way.

One of Malcolm’s greatest achievements was the devising of an annual conference on "Mystics and Scientists", drawing on to the same platform leading scientists who had arrived at holistic thinking, together with mystics and teachers of spiritual knowledge. At the time of writing this has run for eleven years.

In 1983 it was clearly desirable to pause and give Wrekin something of a sabbatical year. A change in direction was indicated. Now all over the country Networks were emerging, linking local groups founded for study, meditation or healing, or for living the alternative life-style. These really were now presenting the holistic world-view in ways often cheaper than we could do in Wrekin gatherings, hiring expensive conference centres. In the early years we had really been breaking new ground. Now the New Age Movement was forging ahead on a broad front and a stream of books on esoteric and spiritual knowledge was appearing. The Wrekin Trust needed to enter on a new direction and Malcolm saw the opportunity of developing a curriculum of on-going linked courses which really would help people consciously to change and transform themselves. I was very happy at this new stage to make him Director of Wrekin Trust, with myself as Founder/President.

Then, as I approached the age of eighty (in 1986) I invited Tony Neate, the founder of Runnings Park, West Malvern, to become Chairman with his colleague David Furlong as Co-Director. In 1987 Malcolm experienced a time of ill-health, which threw all planning on David. Malcolm also realized that his real task now was to develop his remarkable seminars on "The Transformational Journey". These he had established with his wife Jane and had built up a considerable following. So it became clear to us all that this was the time for him to retire from the Trust. Our long partnership was completed and Wrekin entered a new phase under the inspiration and direction of David Furlong and Tony Neate, with David Middleton as Administrator in charge of the office, which was now moved into the grounds of Runnings Park under the Malverns – a fine centre for spiritual adult-education. I remained as President and for a time, a member of the Trustees.

For me a new phase had been entered – lecture tours on spiritual knowledge all over the country and abroad. This has been my increasing delight in the last years. For twenty-four years I had sat tight at Attingham, like a spider in the centre of my web and had travelled relatively little. Now I saw how many parts of England I had never visited. The lecture tours grew into pilgrimages to explore Britain and go to the cathedrals and sacred centres, while running seminars and giving lectures arranged by local groups. In addition, there have been tours to America, South Africa, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany. Thus I entered the third phase of my post-war quest for the holistic world-view. These tours can now be planned from my home in a converted Cotswold barn.

So there in outline is the story of one man’s adventure into the vision of Wholeness, which to me equates with exploration into God. It sounds like a series of unfolding enthusiasms. Inevitably, being a Scorpio, there were traumatic experiences essential to growth of the soul and quenching of the ego, but they need not concern us here. Through the years the conviction grew in me to the point of a deep certainty that the universe is Mind, an ocean of living thought poured out from the Divine source, and that the human entity is a droplet of that Divine mind, which can of its own volition merge with the ocean without losing its identity. There lies the path of spiritual awakening in our time, the evolutionary step which the human being is called on and challenged to take. In this sense we can all begin to "explore into God".

The fact of human freedom does imply that our initiative is an essential factor. Nothing will happen until we take the first step upon the path. Every path will be different, but each leads to the same goal – -holistic vision, re-uniting with the Oneness, re-identifying with the Unitary Being of Humanity, which is indeed as aspect of God. So the fact that I am not an advanced mystic or seer may be an encouragement to others to start out on their own journey. Know that we are each in close touch with our own angelic guide and teacher and our Higher Self, who can speak within our own thinking. The door of the prison of self is unlocked. Push it and you can walk through. God is life everywhere, the being that animates all form. The great adventure of our age is indeed Exploration into God.

Prototypes of Holistic Achievement

WE ARE CONCERNED with the breakthrough to a holistic world-view. We have seen that this is far more than theory. Once it takes possession of us, it brings change in character. We must change. We can no longer go on with the same egoism that characterises the condition of separation. We enter a new epoch, the evolutionary age when human consciousness lifts and expands into an experience of Wholeness.

At the beginning of every epoch certain individuals emerge who have taken the step into the new consciousness. We must think that these are souls who have incarnated in order to lift mankind another step up the ladder – Jacob's ladder. In the Renaissance, Leonardo and Michelangelo were such people. I wish now to speak of two men who appear to have, through their own vision and activity, actually changed themselves and shown the way for others to do the same. These are Rudolf Steiner and F. Matthias Alexander. Each of these in his own way actually brought about in himself an evolutionary transformation of immense significance for the holistic vision and its application to living. It is of course impossible to do justice to the work of such men in one chapter, but since their thinking and its application has been a major factor in my life, I should like to acknowledge and do honour to them in this book.

RUDOLF STEINER (1864-1924)

Steiner's work in researching into the spiritual worlds is of astonishing depth. I am simply concerned here with his approach to thinking as a demonstration of holism.

Indeed, it is highly significant that before he launched out on his teachings about the spiritual nature of man and the universe, he wrote The Philosophy of Freedom and A Theory of Knowledge about the nature of thinking, to show that his research was by no means the result of mediumship or of higher beings speaking through his consciousness. He wished to establish that he had lifted his thinking beyond the limitations of sense-bound intellect and had in fullest consciousness achieved a oneness with the ocean of Mind, the living Intelligence of the Universe. All his teaching was the expression of direct experience of the spiritual worlds. He was simply describing what he saw and found in these higher worlds and putting it into thoughts for us to understand.

He needed to establish that he had done something with his thinking which had never been achieved before and that his researches into the spiritual worlds had the same validity as scientific exploration of the material plane.

He was born in Austria in 1864 with complete clairvoyance, and the spiritual worlds were fully open to him. As an absolutely first rate scientific mind, teaching the most advanced theories of his time, he saw that his spiritual knowledge was a kind of atavistic throwback into a quite outdated form of thinking, unfitting for a scientific age. Yet this capacity gave him complete certainty about the reality of the spiritual worlds. He wrote of himself:

The spiritual world stood self-evident to me. But I felt that it was essential for me to enter it through the doorway of nature. I urged upon myself: "I must intensify my thinking. I must become able with my thinking to penetrate into the reality within natural phenomena. Only in such a way can I legitimately enter the spiritual world."

He saw that the way evolution had taken humanity, had led to illusion about the material worlds. Our intellectual thinking was based on perceptions through the senses, which were not tuned to apprehend the living being within the forms of nature. He knew by direct vision that these forms were the creation of a world of being, of living ideas which are strands of the ocean of Divine thinking.

Thus he saw that if he could achieve "sense-free thinking", he would be able to unite directly with this world of Being. The way through was clearly by an intense meditative study of nature in her metamorphosis of forms, so that his own thinking could in itself apprehend the thinking of the Universe. If the human ego is a droplet of the Divine mind, then surely this droplet can unite with the ocean of Divine thinking and idea. Thinking thus became the way of research into the higher worlds.

In this sense man himself holds the key to the secrets of nature. In such concentrated meditation, human thinking is brought into awareness of the creative activity of Thought that lies behind the world of nature.

Once he had made his breakthrough by intensifying his thinking to the point of "sense-free thinking", there was no limit to the possibility of research. He knew he had refuted Kant and demonstrated that in very truth there were no limits to human knowledge.

His teaching life of a quarter of a century in which he gave six thousand lectures, was a demonstration of the human potential of thinking as an instrument of knowledge. Whenever he was asked to speak on a subject, he responded by demonstrating that he could draw knowledge direct from source in fullest consciousness. We are not concerned here to speak of the colossal achievement in sheer work and inspiration. The point I wish to make is that here is a human being who took his own thinking and used it as an instrument for breakthrough into Higher Thinking. He saw that no one before had in this sense considered "thinking about thinking".

The point where ideas bubble into consciousness is, for each of us, unique in the universe. It is the only point where we are, at one and the same time, both creator and observer. The ideas are ours – and yet they are given from an inner, higher source. They bubble up like a fountain of Thoughts, which we can observe. The brain is formed by Thought to reflect the convolutions of Cosmic Thought. My eye cannot see its own seeing, nor my ear hear its hearing, but I can think about thinking. In this humanity is unique, and here we have the clue that opens to us the possibility of exploring the infinite realms of knowledge.

Humanity stands at this threshold. Holistic thinking can grasp this vision. There have of course been seers and initiates in all ages, but Steiner is probably the first to take the conscious step in intensifying his own thinking so that in a clear and scientific manner he could enter the realms of spirit, merging thinking with the Cosmic Intelligence.

Here is an important statement in his autobiography.

If we see in thinking the capacity to comprehend more than can be known to the senses, we are forced on to recognize the existence of objects over and above those we experience in sense perception. Such objects are Ideas. In taking possession of the Idea, thinking merges itself into the World Mind. What was working without now works within. Man has become one with the World Being at its highest potency. Such a becoming-realized of the Idea is the true communion of man. Thinking has the same significance for ideas as the eye for light and the ear for sound. It is an organ of perception.

Thus I submit that here is a human achievement of paramount significance for holistic thinking. A new human species is emerging and Steiner stands as a prototype. We can all follow this lead. In living Thinking lies the key to initiation into higher knowledge, through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition.


Matthias Alexander is another who demonstrated holism, but in a different way. He was not concerned with the spiritual world-view. His discovery concerns the use of the self, the manner in which we direct the way we are using the body as a psycho-physical unity. This achievement started not as a theory but in the tackling of a very practical situation. As a Shakespearean reciter in Australia, he found that his career was threatened through loss of voice. No expert could tell him why this was happening. He then grasped the idea that this defect must be caused by something he was doing himself to put the mechanism wrong. Since no one could throw light on this, he got mirrors and watched himself reciting. He soon saw that the greater the effort he put into speaking the more he stiffened his neck and pulled his head back and down, which obviously crushed larynx and the speaking organs. Further that he was dragging his body down, shortening the spine. When he tried to lengthen, he found he dragged the back in, which narrowed the whole rib cage and lung area.

But when he came to apply this discovery, he was completely defeated. Every time he began reciting the same thing happened, because his general habit of use of the whole body had come to feel right. He saw that, if the wrong use of himself felt right, then the right use of the body mechanism would of course feel wrong. He saw clearly that we all rely on the guidance of our feeling, our sensory mechanism, to tell us what we are doing with ourselves. If that kinaesthetic register has become untrustworthy, how can we possibly bring about habit changes in use of ourselves? No one is going to do the thing that feels positively wrong. He was in despair. He knew what he had to do. He had to relax and un-tense neck and throat, allow the head to go forward and upward instead of dragging it back and down, and thereby maintain the lengthening of the spine rather than shortening it.

This general use of the body mechanism treated as a whole, would obviously keep the pressure off the larynx and enable him to recite without the harmful tension. But could he do it? Every time he began to recite he found that he followed the guidance of his faulty feeling and reverted to the dragging back of the head and shortening of the spine, because it had come to feel right. Then he made his great discovery. It was so simple, so logical and so very difficult to achieve. Yet here is the holistic clue to taking conscious, constructive control of the use of the body mechanism on which we are dependent in every single thing we do.

He knew that he had found the true and primary movement for each and every act. He came to call it the "primary control". He recognized the holistic nature of the human body, a wonderful instrument which dearly we are constantly misusing because our feeling register becomes untrustworthy. He soon saw in watching himself and others that the tendency was always to stiffen the neck muscles and drag the head backward when effort was made. How often is this apparent in runners straining for the goal. It followed that every attempt at physical training or exercise which did not recognize this primary relationship of parts – head to neck, and head and neck to back as a combined use – would result in loss of coordination of the whole body.

He then made the further discovery, on which the technique was to turn. Whenever I give consent to do something, I tend to stiffen neck and pull head back without knowing I am doing it. I cannot bring about a different use of myself because what is right feels wrong, through habit. Therefore I must learn, when I receive a stimulus, to withhold reaction, to say NO to the immediate response. Then I must project a conscious order to my neck to relax and my head to continue in a poised, forward and up direction. Clearly I don't need to do anything in order to undo tension. It is simply a question of giving an order, sending a mental direction to the neck to relax etc. If the wrong habit comes in every time I try to gain my end, I must obviously cease to be concerned about that end and instead must concentrate on the means whereby I can achieve that end. I must take control by refusing to allow the faulty sensory register to get into action. I must cut out 'end-gaining'.

Once he had mastered this principle and technique he found that the trouble of loss of voice was overcome. He had learned the secret of maintaining co-ordination of the body mechanism, treated as a working whole. The use of the self obviously applied to every action in living. So he devoted the rest of his life to teaching this technique. It is now accepted as an essential factor in the emergence of alternative therapies and life-style.

I want to quote from my diary of 1931 when I first took up Alexander's work and joined the first training course for teachers, in London:

I went first to see Alexander as an undergraduate at Cambridge. He looked at me, felt me with his hands and said "Young man, what have you been doing to yourself?" He made me make some movements as in fencing, a sport in which I indulged a great deal and with much skill. To my surprise he raised his hands in horror. Then he expounded – I was using myself abominably; I had cultivated unconscious habits which felt quite right but in fact were pulling my poor body out of shape. I was stiffening my neck and pulling my head back; I had got my back pulled right in and it had fixed there as if the framework of the lung was battered in. I was doing these things myself. I was doing them. I myself was positively pulling my body out of shape. Each time I lunged in fencing, in went the back and back came the head. Clearly, the more I did the worse the conditions would become. If in walking I pulled my head back, what must I be doing in the violent efforts of mountaineering! It was suddenly clear as day. Somehow one must stop doing those things which pulled one out of shape to allow the misplaced structures to fall back into their normal conditions.
Here was an idea and a principle diametrically opposed to every exercise or training I had ever heard of The first lesson was a revelation!...

I became quite clear that this technique held something of immense importance for mankind and that I must learn it and be able to teach it. I knew that this was one of the great discoveries. Alexander called his first book Man's Supreme Inheritance, his second, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, the third, The Use of the Self (probably the most useful for study) and the last, The Universal Constant in Living.

Those who have engaged in meditation and have also been trained in the Alexander technique will have seen that there is a close parallel. The Tibetan lamas claim the capacity to continue meditation in all they are doing. When we have achieved the poise of Alexander's 'primary control', we can maintain it while giving consent to the limbs doing whatever we want. This has the closest relation to sustained meditation. Non-attachment to 'end-gaining' and control of reaction through 'inhibition' of immediate response to stimuli until directions for the primary control are given, is indeed a kind of western yoga. The act of refusing to respond to the primary desire to gain an end becomes the act of responding to the conscious reasoned desire to employ the means whereby the end may be gained. Clearly and obviously this touches everything we do. Here is the clue for breaking habit and lifting into the new. It would have wonderful effect if it could be included as an essential feature in teaching the 'inner game' of skiing, tennis and athletics. It is as basic to real therapy and healthy living as is nutrition through whole and organic food.

I submit that Alexander demonstrated a principle of supreme importance for a holistic world-view. He made a breakthrough which is nothing less than an evolutionary step forward, when a single human being learned to take constructive, conscious control of the direction of his own use of himself. He discovered man's supreme inheritance and the universal constant in living. He overcame the reliance on faulty sensory register and taught himself a central general habit of use of his entire body working as an indivisible psycho-physical unity.

What seems now to be emerging is a type of human being who is using conscious direction of him/herself. This implies the concept that the body is a potentially perfect tool or instrument for carrying out the purposes of the soul. These two men, Steiner and Alexander, have each in their own way done something which has not been achieved before. They have taken a conscious step in evolution, a step which others will be able to follow. They offer a prototype experience directly relevant to holistic thinking.

Steiner demonstrated the possibility of intensifying thinking so as to blend with the ocean of Mind and explore the super-sensible worlds with scientific certainty. Alexander demonstrated how the use of the psycho-physical self can be mastered and maintained, and faulty habit patterns consciously changed.

Steiner showed us how sense-bound thinking leads to illusion and limitation. Alexander revealed that reliance on faulty sensory appreciation will inevitably lead to faulty co-ordination of the whole body and therefore bring about ill-health and impaired functioning.
With our present understanding of reincarnation and the concept of the Earth as training ground for the evolving soul, we can accept that working on the self in these ways will carry its results through from one life to the next. We approach the realization of the archetype which stands before us as the goal, the reality in the Mind of God. Each incarnation will bring us nearer to the achieving of Homo Erectus.

A Further Step in the Exploration

AT THIS POINT I must introduce a new factor in the personal story. I have, as I said, entered Phase Three of my post-war exploration – first Attingham, then Wrekin Trust and now the lecture tours among the networks. At this stage I met a friend through whom a new step was taken.

It happened like this. My book A Vision of the Aquarian Age was taken up by a newly formed publishing firm in America – Stillpoint. Jim Young's colleague as publisher was Caroline Myss. When I visited them in New Jersey, they revealed that Caroline was a sensitive and in touch with her angelic teacher, one who called himself Genesis. We had a session together in which Genesis spoke through Caroline and revealed that he and I had a close link, and that he hoped to have direct touch with me as spiritual teacher and guide. This in fact came about.

Through this Genesis contact I have become ever clearer about the vital truth that the link with the higher worlds is within our own thinking. We must not expect to hear outside voices from God and the angelic world. The wonderful and delicate provision is that the higher Source speaks in the still small voice within our own minds. We have become so conditioned to the sense of ourselves as separated onlookers at nature. So long as we go on wanting to hear or see the spirit world as something outside us, the true bridge will never be crossed. By this provision there is no interference with human freedom. No one is constrained to come to God. God is everywhere, everywhen, ubiquitous. He is the Life animating every form. In man has been evolved a creature with nervous system and brain through which direct contact with higher knowledge and thinking is possible.

I longed for closer direct contact with Genesis-and then saw that he was indeed pooling mind with me and speaking within my own thinking. Mysteriously within the question asked is contained the answer. I took the plunge and began to address myself as from Genesis. At first it seemed a curious process – me talking to me. Then I saw it as the essential next step. I began in dawn meditations to speak very slowly, word by word, into a tape recorder, starting deliberately by saying "George, this is Genesis speaking". It was a tentative beginning, but the results were clearly of a quality beyond my normal thinking. Having spoken for a while, I would play the tape back and let it dictate to me and the slow speech was just the speed to write it down.

We must overcome the sense that it is silly to talk to oneself. What is really happening is that left brain is talking to right brain. The sensitive, intuitive, feminine faculties of the right hemisphere are in direct and immediate touch with the living Oneness. They are the gateway to imaginative vision. The rational left brain relies on sense-bound thinking and, as we have seen, is therefore cut off from the super-sensible worlds. We can each in our own way begin to work to establish this link. In a later section of this book I include a number of these conversations with Genesis. They make no claim to be anything very profound. They are perhaps valuable as examples of a way of approach to thinking into the higher worlds and may encourage others to work in like manner.

Communication with Higher Intelligences

IT IS ALL VERY WELL to talk about an ocean of Thought and a Cosmic Intelligence. That theoretical knowledge alone is not enough. It presents the greatest challenge to the human mind. If ethereal space is filled with intelligence and intelligences, spiritual beings who can pool and blend mind stuff, then the implications for us are immense. Communication with higher intelligence must obviously be possible and will be of profound importance in our present world crisis. How do we bridge the gap from separated intellect to pooled consciousness?

We have surely to recognize that thinking is a vehicle for knowledge, if it can be lifted from sense-bound intellect to become a blending with the thinking of beings higher on the Jacob's ladder of the frequency-scale.

In the early days of the Society for Psychical Research the phenomenon of mediumship was explored. Remarkable results were often achieved, but there was always the danger that trance mediumship, involving as it obviously does a lowering of consciousness, could result in deception and even entry of mischievous entities into possession.

Steiner demonstrated through his entire life achievement that it was indeed possible for the human being so to intensify his thinking that he could develop 'sense-free thinking', and thus consciously enter the realm of living ideas. I speak more of this in a later chapter. He made good his claim that there are indeed no limits to human knowledge if this step can be taken, since then it becomes possible to receive from the Source direct answers to any question.

Alice Bailey in all her great books received direct communication from one of the Masters of the Hierarchy, that group of exalted human beings who have achieved higher knowledge and no longer have need for a physical vehicle and yet can take to themselves a bodily vehicle if they so wish. They, it would appear, are overlighting our civilization as it goes through its evolutionary crisis and catharsis. We are watching and experiencing a melting of the barriers between the worlds. The separation of spirit and matter is being overcome. In other words, the reliance on the left hemisphere intellect alone is being modified by the parallel development of the right hemisphere with its feminine and poetical sensitivity.

So many people are now receiving communications from the spiritual worlds. It is a factor which cannot any more be denied. It becomes folly to think that ours is the highest level of intelligence. Holistic thinking must have the courage to take the leap and admit that the human mind can blend with the intelligence of invisible and spiritual and disembodied beings. Examples are now innumerable and only the most obstinate materialist can deny it and remain blind to this fact.

The door lies within our own thinking. This is the wonder. We do not have to wait until the existence of the Higher Worlds can be proven to the logical intellect. We can as from now begin to work to bridge the gap. As I have stressed before, it is not even necessary to 'believe', in the conventional sense of the word. Have the courage to act on the concept that you are a droplet in the ocean of Mind. Activate thinking as an instrument for blending with the Whole. Try it out.

Here is the use of imagination. Remember Keats' statement: "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affection and the truth of Imagination." Use mind to call on Mind. This is, of course, dynamic prayer. You are a cell in the body of the living Earth, Terra, the beautiful planet. When you think with love and ardour into the wonder of Wholeness, when you choose to identify with the life that animates the sheath of matter, then you ARE the Earth waking up. Wherever you look, your gaze is met by the forms of nature which your senses can identify. Don't stop there. Let tree, plant, mountain, bird, crystal, tell you of the being dwelling within it and shaping it. It speaks with so subtle a voice to the refinement of your mind and to the listening heart. On this level you are one with that being. This experience of Wholeness is one of Joy. You are touched with the fairy wand."

Do not expect to hear a voice from outside booming or shouting or even whispering. Do not strive to see invisible beings. It is WITHIN your consciousness and your thinking that they will work. Only when you have stilled the chattering mind and busy emotion through your own form of meditation can you expect to 'hear' or 'see' in the reflective glass of your own consciousness. It involves a reverential approach to things, a readiness to respond to the Voices of Silence. It needs courage to face the truth that it is within your own thinking that the spiritual beings speak. You have a salutary reticence and doubt about your capacity and a fear of being deceived. Of course delusion and illusion are possible. Ego will always try to get in and have its way. Yet remember this: the theory is that your spiritual guide, your angel or your friend out of the body, longs to be allowed to think in your mind. Invite them. Welcome them. Invoke them. You can always reserve judgement. They always say 'Test the spirits'. Use sound common sense, for you are exploring into a new, strange wonderful realm. But for goodness sake begin! Find your own way. This is the adventure.

Be sure of this, that in this time of travail in the birth of a new humanity, when Planet Earth is suffering and herself praying for redemption, the realms of higher Intelligence will be very close and ready to help wherever they can find entry. The Christ impulse is one of unconditional Love and total and continued forgiveness. Begin with forgiving yourself for your own folly and mistakes and widen out to forgive those around you. God is the Life, which is in all things. Christ is the Love which welds all into a harmony. The desperate things now happening are aspects of the burning out and cauterizing of the evil which we have released.

Here is a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Selves – goes itself: myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is –
Christ – for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his,
To the Father through the features in men's faces.

Exploring into God in Nature

AGAIN we must adventure into God.

For He IS all things. He is Life. Where we apprehend life, there is God. He is the essence of every thing in Nature. Then how do we find Him? What do we do with our consciousness to make the breakthrough into the 'within' of Nature? To achieve this opening is vital for our present expanding of consciousness. It is an aspect of man's re-vision of Nature to lift beyond sense-bound, matter-bound thinking and apprehend the life, the IDEA, within things. We can all achieve it. It has for me been a vital experience and exploration on my own path, so I offer it simply now.

We can in this section do no more than touch on aspects of Nature to illustrate an approach which will open to mysteries of vision. Clearly there can be no end to human exploration into Nature in this manner. This is the "two-fold and three-fold vision" which William Blake achieved and we can all aspire to. We have to open the inner eye and achieve true vision of what is invisible to normal looking.

Every plant is unique, but all share the same basic stages of growth. Look at that plant. Take it to bits and lay the leaves in series; you will note that the form from a simple beginning passes through its greatest elaboration and then falls back into itself, as if tired of its splendour, until the sepals cluster around the calyx, as if spinning round the stalk. Then appears the corolla of coloured petals. Rational intellect is content to note the form. The imaginative vision apprehends the wonder. Leaf has metamorphosed into coloured petal. A miracle has happened which our normal looking takes for granted. The total quality of substance has transformed, refined, been drenched in colour. As soon as you truly observe the change and indeed move through it with your exact sensory imagination, Mind breaks through.

Nature is a great work of art and design out of the Divine source. We have sensed already that every thing on every level is a facet of the stupendous Whole. Everything interconnects and flows into everything else, while expressing its unique self-hood. And the human being, consummation of the grand design, is the point through which Nature can look and see the divinity within each form. We may conceive that the purpose of the whole Divine Design is that this creature, "a little lower than the angels", shall re-discover God in every thing.

But to it again. Look for examples which in themselves hold the total secret. 'See' them with the heightened vision, which mostly lies in us unused and unawakened. It may be called 'risen thinking'. Such an example: a petal in process of becoming a stamen, may, in Goethe's words, be "worth a thousand, holding everything within itself".

Take the tulip. First the splay of strong fleshy leaves. Then the long stalk from which bursts the crimson corolla. But often enough we see a 'sport', a petal which has appeared half an inch below the coloured flower. It is half red petal and half fleshy green leaf. Tulip hides its secret and then reveals it to the seeing eye. This to you will be absolute proof that the 'being' of the plant metamorphoses green leaf into red petal. We are watching an astonishing secret which reveals what is happening throughout the natural kingdom. Wonder at it. Most of our human art is static – sculpture, painting, architecture. Nature holds the secret of forms which flow into subtler refinement, yet always remain integrated with the Whole.

Now a second example. Take a rose and pick off its petals and lay them in series on a white cloth. The outer first petals may sometimes reveal a relationship to the sepals, but then achieve a perfect shape. Then go on for two or three petals in the series and you find a crinkle in the top of the petal which relates to the beginning of the central rib, and then becomes a kind of hard cyst which then at the next stage reveals a touch of yellow pollen forming. The flanges of the petal then fall away, leaving the rib as a strong stamen with pollen organ at the top. Leaf has metamorphosed through a series of stages to become stamen.

In this chapter we can do no more than introduce this enthralling subject and indicate the way we can watch how nature works. Goethe pointed out the three-fold expansion and contraction in plant forms. First into stem leaf, refining into sepal: then into corolla, contracting into stamen, related to stigma; then expansion into fruit and ultimate contraction into seed.

Take a seed in the palm of the hand and study it closely. Grasp the truth that it is matter returned to complete formlessness. It is 'chaos', in the Greek sense of the word. You do not find the oak tree in miniature in the acorn. Yet the seed, as formlessness, is mysteriously outside time. Wheat seeds from Egyptian tombs have, when planted, been found to grow. That diminutive point is in touch with the Source.

The IDEA of tulip, rose or oak tree, given the right conditions, can pour through the seed-point and manifest the plant cycle.

But here contemplate a decaying log or fallen tree on the leafy floor of the winter forest. That tree stump, once the base of a noble tree, has now lost all its life and, through myriads of micro-organisms, is disintegrating back to soil. A dead log? But it is swarming with living creatures which are busy breaking it down so that it reverts to humus, the matrix of all life, into which the waiting seed can fall, to start the entire cycle once again. Now grasp the great thought. Earth creates nothing. Its function is to break down forms into living soil. The forms are expression of the archetypal ideas which, as we have seen, exist first in the mind of God. The human mind has the capacity, once it is awakened, to apprehend these living ideas within natural forms.

There is a story of the first meeting of Goethe and Schiller at a botanical lecture by Linnaeus. The two poets met outside the lecture room, in deep distress and anger at the dry intellectual approach to analysing nature. Goethe poured out his theory of the archetypal plant. Schiller stopped and said "But this is only an idea". And Goethe thoughtfully replied: "Then thank God I can see my ideas with my eyes". At that moment he recognized that in himself had awakened a new faculty of the inner eye, which could directly apprehend the being within the form. This we can all strive to learn and do. This is a form of dynamic thinking through which we can all enter the divinity within nature and experience how it works in the infinite complexity of the wondrous whole. Indeed it is an aspect of 'exploration into God'. The approach has, to me, been a revelation of deep importance.

The best instruction on this approach is to be found in Rudolf Steiner's little book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How is it achieved? It opens new fields of understanding and spiritual science, since all nature works on the principle of metamorphosis and flow between forms.

What then of the phenomenon of colour in Nature? Steiner has written:

By experiencing the living element in the flow of colour we come, one might say, out of our own form and share the cosmic life. Colour is the soul of Nature and the whole Cosmos, and by experiencing the life of colour we participate in this soul.

Now a clue to this is found in the conception of Jacob's ladder, the column of frequency bands stretching from the light of the spiritual Sun down to the low vibratory rate of the plane of matter. Though the angels may be portrayed as climbing up and down the ladder, as on the west front of Bath Abbey, the truth is that all rungs are everywhere, all frequencies blending and passing through each other. Many seers have described the marvels of colour on the heavenly planes.

Contemplate that tulip again. Can we realize that the corolla has not only been lifted eighteen inches above the earth? It is truly touching up into a plane of higher frequency. The eye of vision can 'see' that the flowing seas of glorious colour on the higher planes can be touched by the flowers. They are organs which can reach up the frequencies and bring colour into manifestation for the delight of human senses. How dull and prosaic to think you have explained the glory of the flower by saying that its purpose is to attract bees so as to get itself pollenated! Its purpose is to the Glory of God, that the human being, that point of exalted consciousness in nature, can apprehend heavenly colour and 'rejoice in the Lord'. Propagation is essential but it is secondary to the primal wonder of flowers.

In like manner we may consider the amazing symphony of birdsong in the dawn chorus. Ornithological books frequently state that birds sing in order to claim territory. Nature may use the bird-song for that prosaic purpose, but what a paucity of vision to leave it at that! Can we not see that where the advancing wall of light meets and overcomes the darkness of night, nature has created an organ which can pour out divine music in praise of its Creator.

Furthermore the colours of the dawn are the result of the conflict of dark and light. Goethe, again, taught us this splendid concept. Where light shines through obscurity, as when sun shows through mist, the red colour ranges are born. When darkness is covered by lighted obscurity, as when smoke from a cottage rises against dark woods, the blues are born. Goethe spoke of "the deeds and sufferings of light and colour". We may see that, as the Earth turns into the dawn, a wondrous wall of colour and song moves across it to welcome the day with praise. Be not content with the prosaic explanation, true enough but on too mundane a level. Rather grasp that we are born with the faculty of exploring into God and his angels through the lifted vision of the human mind.

Next part:  III. Risen Thinking

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Exploration into God
Sir George Trevelyan

First published in 1991 by Gateway Books
This book is out-of-print, available only on this website
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© Copyright Sir George Trevelyan and estate, 1991. This book may be downloaded and printed on paper in single copies for personal use and study only, in a spirit of fair play and without financial transaction. .