The Great Doing

Activity in the Spiritual World

"Work in the invisible world at least
as hard as you do in the visible."


     Seeing our world in such peril, we frantically search for ways to act to help the plight of humankind.

     Certainly there is much we can do in the physical world:
  • Keep ourselves informed and help inform others

  • Encourage those speaking out for liberty and justice

  • Join with others to improve our world

     But we must not forget that we live in two worlds simultaneously: the physical and the spiritual.

      A hundred years from now it will be vitally important what we did in the spiritual realm--as well as what we accomplished in our earthly existence.

"You're from a country
beyond this universe,
yet your best guess is
you're made of earth and ashes."


     It's difficult to understand what activity consists of in the spiritual realm. We're so familiar with and focused on acting in the physical world that any other kind of action is hard to fathom.

      Because of our preoccupation with physical activity in which we appear to cause effects in people and events around us, we overlook the vital necessity to comprehend how and why we must perform actions in the spiritual world.

"It is the interest of occult knowledge that it shows us--and a dynamic force of spiritual knowledge brings us the same evidence--that this subjection of Mind to Matter, of the spirit to a lesser law of life is not what it at first appears to be, a fundamental condition of things, an inviolable and unalterable rule of Nature. The greatest, most momentous natural discovery that man can make is this that mind, and still more the force of the spirit, can in many tried and yet untried ways and in all directions--by its own nature and direct power and not only by devices and contrivances such as the superior material instrumentation discovered by physical Science--overcome and control life and matter. In the evolution of the gnostic supernature this direct power of consciousness, this direct action of the force of the being, its free mastery and control of life and matter, would be consummated and reach their acme."

Aurobindo, The Life Divine

Awakening to the Spiritual World

"God is close by. He draws his worshipper near and engulfs him in His Presence. He personally elects His worshipper and endows him with superhuman force to reach Him. He Himself acts in him to bring difference to nought and to bridge the gap."

Hujwiri, The Revelation of the Veiled Mysteries, 1040 CE

     As Hujwiri makes clear, God first acts to endow us with superhuman power to bridge the gap between Himself and ourselves. We must then utilize the transcendent power He gives us to vault over the chasm which separates us from the Divine.

     Having made contact with the Higher Domain, we must gain a genuine comprehension of the spiritual world. Through persistent meditation and contemplation, we come to realize that our ordinary faculties cannot reveal the ultimate reality beyond what our sense impressions hint at.

     We make contact with the spiritual realm by shifting from a busy mental concentration within to a voluntary, wide opening to realities from without. As we expand with our heart we come in contact with spiritual essences which surround us. It is a mixture of energy, the desire to reach higher, and the intense happiness and serenity that beauty gives us.

     Beauty in all its guises is a great and quiet revealer of spiritual realities. Out-going expansion and immersion in wide-hearted receptivity brings us into the spiritual realm.

    "The true order of going is to use the beauties of Earth as steps along which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty."


     Spiritual activity is a very subtle kind of doing:

  • Opening yourself to allow the forces of higher consciousness to flow through to people and things about you

  • Utilizing the connective mind in the world of affairs

  • Opening your outlets and allowing the currents of higher force to run through you in a stream

  • Participating by aligning yourself with others

  • Persevering in your efforts to contact and understand the Divine

    "I don't know whether the Union I want
    will come through my effort, or my giving up effort, or from something completely separate
    from anything I do or don't do."


     Within ourselves, spiritual action involves:

  • Allowing the life moving through us to function and proceed forth, but not necessarily from one place to another or moving us along

  • Meditating with repose

  • Infiltrating our bit of universal substance into who and what is around us

  • Actually extending our personality into that of others to form a universal, Connective Mind

"It may be that the satisfaction I need
depends on my going away,
so that when I'm gone
and come back, I'll find it at home."

The Sorcery Description of the World

     The Great Doing involves the three states contained within the Shaman way of life:
  1. Becoming a Man of Knowledge: SEEING

    • "Stopping the world" - first step toward seeing

    • Final accomplishment of man of knowledge: stopping the world by not-doing

    • "What stopped inside you yesterday was what people have been telling you the world is like. You see, people tell us from the time we are born that the world is such and such and so and so, and naturally we have no choice but to see the world the way people have been telling us it is." don Juan

    • "Responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality."

  2. Becoming a Warrior: STOPPING THE WORLD

    • "'Stopping the world' was indeed an appropriate rendition of certain states of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow in interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterruptedly, has been stopped by a set of circumstances alien to that flow. In my case the set of circumstances alien to my normal flow of interpretations was the sorcery description of the world."

    • Condition for stopping the world: had to learn a new description in a total sense and pit it against the old description and break the dogmatic certainty we all share that our description is the only description

    "Of all the day's activities, this non-activity, this retreat into meditation, must become the principal one. It ought to be the centre, with all the others circling round it."

    Paul Brunton, Meditation

  3. Becoming a Hunter: NOT-DOING

    • Doing is a rock or a man

    • To look is doing; to see is not-doing

    • "That rock is a rock because of all the things you know how to do to it."

    • "The world is the world because you know the doing involved in making it so . . .  If you didn't know its doing, the world would be different."

    • To stop the world, you must stop doing.

    • To stop the world, enlarge something by not-doing.

    • Not-doing: proceed with something as if it were something far beyond an ordinary object or event; this can change it into a power object or a power event

    • Talking is doing for some, working for others


"I will seek for the Friend
with all my passion
and all my energy,
until I learn
that I don't need to search."

     The Great Doing involves higher feelings:

  • Like being in an infinite life of warm, pulsating, desirable human qualities, immeasurably greater and more powerful than your own

"When the emptiness starts to be filled with something,
the One who plays the lute puts it down and picks up another."

     The Great Doing involves:

  • Tuning oneself to receive (hear, see, feel, taste, touch) phenomena in the spiritual world

  • Tuning oneself to broadcast harmonious heart-force

  • Abandoning oneself for the heritage of participation in the whole

  • Becoming dispossessed of non-essentials

"If I had known the real way it was,
I would have stopped all the looking around.
But the knowing depends on the time spent looking!"


Awakening Spiritual Senses

     The spiritual body has senses of its own which we must awaken and stabilize in the correct manner. These spiritual senses--what are often called psychic abilities--must not be sought for themselves or they can become detrimental or dangerous. The purpose of awakening the spiritual senses is to fit us for a more enriching being.

     The awareness which spiritual senses make possible must be clearly distinguished from intellectual understanding. In the spiritual dimension, persons act on each other through a kind of radiation effect, like fire has a radius of heat or ice emits an aura of cold. Spiritual awareness is a kind of becoming a part of the essence of the entity you are apprehending.

"The gnostic being would awake to and possess many things, a clear and complete knowledge of self, a direct knowledge of others, a direct knowledge of hidden forces, a direct knowledge of the occult mechanism of mind and life and matter, which are beyond our present attainment. This new knowledge and action of knowledge would be based on an immediate intuitive consciousness of things and an immediate intuitive control of things; an operative insight, now supernormal to us, would be the normal functioning of this consciousness, and an integral assured effectivity both in the mass of action and in its detail would be the outcome of the change. For the gnostic being would be in unison and communion with the Consciousness-Force that is at the root of everything: his vision and his will would be the channel of the supramental Real-Idea, the self-effective Truth-Force; his action would be a free manifestation of the power and workings of the root Force of existence, the force of an all-determining conscious spirit whose formulations of consciousness work out inevitably in mind, life and matter. Acting in the light and power of the supramental knowledge, the evolving gnostic being would be more and more master of himself, master of the forces of consciousness, master of the energies of Nature, master of his instrumentation of life and matter."

Aurobindo, The Life Divine

  One of the experiences closest to spiritual perception on the physical plane is the inner sense we get of other persons, in terms of who they are and what they are--whether they are trustworthy, honest, inquisitive or not.

  The spiritual senses are more numerous and diverse than the physical senses. For example, inspiration, intuition, empathy, and discernment are spiritual senses or powers. Genuinely creative artists working in any medium recognize that they do not function with their brain, their mind, or their intellect. At the inception of any truly creative effort, artists apprehend through inspiration.

"An action only becomes an action in virtue of its sincerity. Sincerity bears the same relation to an action as the spirit to the body: as the body without the spirit is a lifeless thing, so an action without sincerity is utterly unsubstantial. Sincerity belongs to the class of internal actions. . ."

Hujwiri, The Revelation of the Veiled Mysteries, 1040 CE

  As our physical senses have certain tastes--for nourishment, excitement, health--our spiritual senses involve appetites for such positive elements as harmony, growth, and compassion. If people leave their spiritual side undeveloped, they become stunted, scattered, and impaired. Awakening our spiritual faculties means that we can master our destiny by taking possession of our soul.

     As you awaken your spiritual faculties, dormant through long neglect, you discover that they have a wondrous creative force. Your spiritual body possesses an engine of power, dynamically creative, capable of impressing and molding your material world in direct ratio to the creative force you produce in your inner being. This force is not a mental capacity, it's a higher spiritual power. It derives, not from that mere agent of the soul, the intellect, but from the spiritual center within us.

      "We have within us the Lamp of the World; and Nature, the genie, is Slave of the Lamp, and must fashion life about us as we fashion it within ourselves. What we are alone has power. We may give up the outward personal struggle and ambition, and if we leave all to the Law all that is rightly ours will be paid. Man becomes truly the Superman when he has this proud consciousness. No matter where he may be, in what seeming obscurity, he is still the King, still master of his fate, and circumstance reels about him or is still as he, in the solitude of his spirit, is mighty or is humble. We are indeed most miserable when we dream we have no power over circumstance, and I account it the highest wisdom to know this of the living universe that there is no destiny in it other than that we make for ourselves."

A.E. The Candle of Vision